How Vision Impairment Affects Daily Life
Declining eyesight can interfere with basic activities of daily living, including driving, paying bills, cooking, and watching TV.
Recognizing you can no longer see to drive or safely get around your home takes courage. Occupational therapy offers tips and tools to help you regain confidence and independence.
February is low vision awareness month, making it a great time to have an annual eye exam or check in with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
OT for low vision
Vision rehabilitation and occupational therapy may be appropriate if you, or a friend or family member, has vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses or surgery.
Have you noticed your vision impairment impacts any of the following:
- Independence and ease of life
- Driving, shopping, working, personal care, or managing finances
- Your ability to participate in hobbies and activities you enjoy
- Your daily life functions such as reading, writing, or identifying items
- Safely maneuvering around your home
- Feeling depressed, frustrated, or afraid
There are several eye conditions and symptoms that can cause or indicate vision problems, including:
- macular degeneration
- diabetic retinopathy
- headaches, squints or rubs eyes excessively
- poor convergence or divergence skills
- an eye teaming problem
- blurry or double vision
- difficulty with depth perception
- poor academic performance and reading comprehension
As experts in activity and occupational performance, occupational therapists will work with you to assess and address your low vision needs. They are pros at uncovering the ways low vision may be interfering with your ability to live independently or perform other occupational roles, including worker, student, driver, athlete, parent, or child.
Practical tips for living with low vision
Your occupational therapist can even conduct home assessments to determine some helpful modifications, including:
- Eliminate trip hazards
- Strategies for better lighting in hallways, stairs, and rooms
- Remove clutter, cords, and rugs
- Tips for enlarging print when reading or cooking
- Organize rooms by keeping common items in the same location
- Rearrange or remove furniture to create easier traffic patterns
- Install colored grab bars that contrast with the walls
- Hang clothes by color in closets
- Use labels and tray dividers to keep track of cosmetics
- Use kitchen items with good color contrast and organize items in a familiar way
- Use large-print pill boxes or a talking medication reminder
- Install night lights or keep a flashlight handy if you get up during the night
- Add motion-activated lighting as needed
- Program telephones to speed dial important numbers
- Give your eyes time to adjust to changing light levels
- Practice with mobility aids such as canes, monoculars, and other aids
- Use adaptive equipment including magnifiers, large-print labels and checks, and voice-activated technology
- Solutions to keep you safe and engaged
- Goal setting to maximize your independence
Besides improving the functionality and safety of your home, we can give you tips for shopping, managing medications, preparing meals, and improving visibility. We provide skilled services customized for you, including therapy to remediate and maximize your remaining vision. We will work with you to develop strategies specific to your situation and individual needs.
Low vision can impact the quality of your life and even make you prone to depression. You don’t have to feel your way through the dark and go it alone! If you are concerned about your low vision, or worried about a loved one, ask your physician, optometrist, ophthalmologist or physical therapist for a referral or recommendation.
At Generation Care, we strive to maximize your existing eyesight and skills and suggest easier ways to do things. We want to help you stay independent as long as possible and continuing doing things you enjoy.
Generation Care offers Vision Rehabilitation at all three locations: Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Grand Haven. Contact us at one of our locations to learn more about vision rehabilitation and other ways occupational therapy benefit you. Meet the Occupational Therapists at Generation care here.