Do you have a family member who suffers from low vision? Here are some helpful tips and strategies to help them cope and improve their happiness levels and quality of life.
Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected through eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery, and it is severe enough to affect a person’s ability to carry out the tasks of everyday living.
While a number of eye conditions are associated with low vision, some of the most common include:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Diabetic retinopathy
The visual impairment caused by these conditions can negatively impact one’s ability to write, read, engage in activities that used to provide purpose or pleasure, and even socialize. This may result in a loss of independence, roles and responsibilities, favourite pastimes, and quality of life.
Have a Family Member With Low Vision? We Can Help!
At our Calgary eye clinic, our highly trained optometrists can help you or your family member address all your low vision needs so that you can begin to enjoy life again and participate in activities you love, such as reading, socializing, and driving.
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Top Tips to Help a Family Member Who Suffers From Low Vision
Do you have a family member who suffers from low vision? Such changes in eyesight can cause many emotions, including grief, disbelief, sadness, and loneliness. Luckily, there are some ways that you can help a relative you are caring for through this process.
Providing Emotional Support
Vision loss can cause some negative emotions and it can cause the person suffering to have feelings of anger, sadness, and loneliness. Emotional support is critical during this time and as a caregiver taking care of someone with low vision, make sure you:
- Learn as much as possible about the condition and its management
- Assist them in maintaining relationships
- Encourage them to find an outlet to express their thoughts and feelings
- Help them find new ways of doing things and help them find substitutes for activities in which they can no longer participate
- Allow them enough time to adjust to their situation and any lifestyle changes it requires
- Encourage the person to seek professional help if they become stuck in a phase of grief, anger, or sadness.
Providing Practical Assistance
Although the eye conditions that cause low vision are most often chronic, there are many ways to compensate for deficits and make the most of the remaining vision. Here are some practical strategies for empowering your relative:
- Ensure they go for regular eye exams to a professional optometrist and accompany them there. Encourage them to take a more active role in their treatment.
- Never do more for your relative than is necessary. Remember, independence contributes to self esteem and quality of life.
- Re-label any frequently accessed containers with large print.
- Minimize glare from reflective surfaces by ensuring all windows have coverings and placing decorative cloths over glass tables.
- Ensure adequate lighting in each room and devote special attention to task lighting, and lighting up dark spaces in the home. Installing outdoor lights is important as well.
- Try to use colour contrast to make objects easy to distinguish. For example, use a dark tablecloth with light-coloured dishes.
- Talk to your optometrist about providing your family member with a lighted magnifier for reading in poorly lit locations, such as restaurants.
- When you go out together, describe the view to your relative as you drive. If they are nervous about navigating in public, suggest they hold onto your elbow.
- Perform a home safety assessment to identify potential hazards – such as clutter or lack of proper stair railings. Do what you need to rectify them and keep the space safe.
- Arrange for an assessment with a low vision specialist. Such a professional can recommend adaptive techniques and devices, such as talking watches or large-print calendars.
- Before you rearrange or adapt the environment, ALWAYS seek your relative’s input and consent.
Low Vision Care For Your Whole Family
At our Calgary eye clinics, we believe that everyone has the right to clear sight and healthy eyes. Our highly trained optometrists can help address all of your, or your relatives low vision needs, so you can begin to enjoy a healthier and happier life. To find out more, you can book an appointment online.
Alternatively, you can contact our clinics at 403-256-0606 (Health First Optometry), 403-291-0923 (Sunridge Vision Centre), or 403-443-2040 (Three Hills Optometry).