Losing your vision does not mean you have to stop all your daily activities, but you do need to find new ways to do them.
Occupational therapy (OT) helps people with low vision problems continue to perform daily activities safely and independently, even when prescription lenses, medications, or surgery cannot help.
Use the “clock face” method to locate food on the plate. Consider the use of a non-skid mat, plates and bowls in colours that show the food items more clearly.
Locating Commonly Used Items
Set up an organisation system with your family and those you live with. Let them know to inform you if any changes are needed. Minimise the number of items on the surface e.g., keep the table clutter-free. Ensure that items are organised according to categories e.g., all spoons versus all forks.
Use pill boxes if possible. Use containers of varying sizes and shapes to distinguish pills for different timings.
In writing, use contrasting colours, such as black/white, black/yellow, or blue/ yellow. Limit the number of colours, as too many can be confusing.
Tell others that to avoid cursive, and use a dark bold pen or marker--not a pencil.
For email, set the font size to at least 16 points, and use easy-to-read fonts like Arial or Verdana.
Eccentric viewing is a technique used by persons with central vision loss. Practise the newfound “sweet spot” in your eye on different reading materials at least 10 minutes a day, gradually increasing it to 45 minutes a day by looking slightly away from the subject in order to view it peripherally with another area of visual field.
Give yourself 6 weeks to be familiarised before expecting yourself to be able to read at a comfortable pace.
Use systematic scanning strategies to avoid obstacles. Encourage the use of both eye and neck muscles by moving both the eyes and neck together to optimise the extent you can see.
Your household members can help to be your eyes by describing locations, specific landmarks, people, and objects. It may also be helpful for them to give you a “heads-up” of what would be coming up ahead e.g., “In 5 steps, we will be turning to your right” or “there is a small kerb in 5 more steps”.
When they are guiding you, maintain contact by grasping the back of their elbow. On stairs, they should remain one step ahead.
When guiding you to a seat, they should allow you to touch the chair or bench first, before seating yourself. Some verbal description of the style of seating (e.g., a bench, a sofa etc.) might be helpful.
Lighting in Different Areas at HomeLiving room
General lighting is necessary to allow people to see faces, engage in a conversation, and watch television. Task lighting should be available for reading or sewing. Use shades or blinds on your window during the day to avoid glare.
Increase light level by placing fixtures close to your task, or by selecting light bulbs with more lumens (look for lumens rating on the package).
Place your task light on your left side and slightly to the front if you are right-handed. Place it to your right and slightly forward if you are left-handed. This will reduce shadows cast by your hand on your paper, cutting board, or other task surface.
Select the location of the television or computer carefully. Sit in your normal viewing places with the television or computer off. If you can see an image of a window or a light fixture reflected in the screen, adjust your seating position, the location of the screen, or move the fixture. Avoid placing the screen in front of a window which may cause glare.
Use light colour finishes on walls and ceilings to soften the effects of bright light sources, and to reduce shadows.
Avoid having only ceiling fixtures in the centre of the room that cast your shadow when you are working at a counter or sink.
Place light fixtures over the sink, stove, countertops, and other fixed work areas. Locate these fixtures to the side and slightly in front of the position where a person would usually stand to see the task.
If you have upper cabinets, light your countertops with thin, under cabinet lighting fixtures mounted on the underside of the upper cabinets.
Lighting in the bathroom should be bright, uniform and shadow-free, while minimising glare. Good lighting is important for shaving, grooming, applying makeup, getting in and out of showers. Faces lighted from all sides have few shadows.
Place the fixtures on both sides of the mirror at about eye level to minimise shadows cast by your eyebrows, nose and chin.
Choose non-shiny vanity countertop surfaces with light colours to reflect light to the underside of your chin.
Bedrooms need a low-level ambient light for a relaxing atmosphere, with some bright areas for reading or other activities.
Reading lights should be flexible and glare free. Mount swing arm lamps used for reading in bed above the head of your bed or to your side, below your eye level.
A low-wattage nightlight can improve safety when getting up at night. For added safety, keep a flashlight near your bed to guide you in the dark.
Install light switches with toggles that glow in the dark. Place switches where you can reach them easily from your bed.
Use a motion sensor in your hallway to the bathroom to turn on a low-brightness fixture automatically.
Information is adapted from SGH Occupational Therapy Department
Guide Dogs Singapore Limited
- 20 Sin Ming Lane Midview City #02-53 S573968
- Call 6339 7900
Smart Technology Active Ageing Resource Corner @ SNEC
- Third Hospital Ave, Singapore 168751
email@example.com for more information
Singapore Association of Visually Handicapped Assistive Devices Centre
- 47 Toa Payoh Rise Singapore S298104
- Call 6251 4332 for more details
SPD Assistive Technology Loan Library
- 2 Peng Nguan Street
- Call 6473 0446 for more information on loan details
Tech Able, SG Enable
- 20 Lengkok Bahru, Singapore S159053
- Call 6473 0446 for more information
The above information does not serve as medical advice. Please consult your occupational therapist if you have any questions.
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