Hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from low vision that cannot be helped using conventional correction spectacles or medical/surgical treatment.
At first, it is always a shock to learn that your vision loss cannot be reversed as many could experience difficulty with regular activities such as reading, writing, getting around, playing sports, managing finances, finding and keeping a job and taking care of their personal needs.
And just like any other major life event, vision loss entails feelings of loneliness, helplessness, anxiety and depression. One might have the immediate assumption that his or her life is changed for the worse; hence err on the side of pessimism.
To help better cope with low vision, here are a few basics to remember:
It is extremely important to fight against the wimpish thought and keep in mind that although vision loss may be permanent, low vision does not mean "no" vision, mobility and function can be restored by applying the right strategies. With the use of technologies such as video magnifiers, life actually carries on pretty much as it did before.
You stay organized, keep in touch, get things done, participate in recreational and social activities just as you always used to. And there are many proven strategies for coping with low vision. These adaptive aids and strategies can help people suffering from low vision maintain their independence and get the most out of their remaining eyesight.
However, it's also crucial that you stay active, be patient and develop a willingness to try new things. Coping with low vision is not simple. Practise using adaptive aids; develop your own tricks and methods takes time and effort. Once you have your methods in place, keep on practising until they become second nature. Give yourself as much time as possible to learn new habits and adjust to the new lifestyle.
- Talk to your eye care professional who can conduct a home visit, make a low vision lifestyle assessment and recommend relevant guidelines, aids and training classes.
- Find an occupational therapy practitioner who can provide skilled services specific to your individual needs. Investigate and learn as much as you can.
- Register for a vision rehabilitation program. The rehab can help you learn to use your remaining vision more efficiently and effectively, it makes a world of difference to you adjusting to vision loss.
- Turn to other people in your same situation; learn tips and tricks that have worked for them. The interaction and communication itself can help boost your morale as well.
- Dogs are the most common guide for low vision people and seeing eyes for blind group. See what help these lovely friends can offer: Helps from Furry Friends: Service Animals and Pets
- Make sure that your home is well lit (you can see specific suggestion in Smart Lighting for People With Low Vision), use night lights or a flashlight if you get up in the night. Avoid moving quickly from a dark room to a lighted area, and vice versa; allow your eyes time to adjust to changing light levels.
- Remove unnecessary household items, organize important items and packing up others in the same easy-to-access location.
- Make a list of what you need before shopping; go out with a friend or family member. You may also shop online or use stores that offer delivery services.
- Learn about available transportation services, ask questions and speak up if you are travelling alone and need assistance. Some advices here.
- Go out and socialise with friends. Don't isolate yourself.
It is recommended that you keep a diet rich in fruits, leafy greens, omega-3 fatty acids, and take dietary supplements to cope with vision impairment. About food choice, we've got you covered: please check Do You Choose the Right Foods for Your Eyes. Contact your eye care professional before making any changes to your diet or before taking any supplements. Also, remember to quit smoking, drink lots of water, rest your eyes constantly, and wear sunglasses if it is necessary.