Simple Solutions to Vision-Related Issues
This month I want to share a few random tricks that can help a person with visual deficits maintain their independence. Some may seem simple, or even obvious, but you would be surprised at how often my patients haven’t thought of them.
Recognizing that magnification is the principal method of improving near vision, a person can utilize a photocopier or computer scanner to print larger copies of any printed material too difficult to see. Obviously, you don’t want to do this with a novel, but a church bulletin, a recipe, an address, or similar item could be enlarged this way. Many churches will print their bulletin or song sheets in large print for their congregation with vision issues. You just have to ask.
Check writing is another task that can be troublesome for those with a vision impairment. Many people complain that they can’t follow the lines. By using a black felt tipped marker and a ruler, someone with typical eyesight could deepen the lines on a check enough to make check writing easier for you. Just ask a trusted friend or family member to place these lines on a number of blank checks for you in your checkbook. VisionCorps also can provide check writing guides, which are a plastic sleeve with writing windows to put a blank check in. Simply write within the openings to complete your check. Sometimes Banks even have large print checks.
Setting a stove or oven, or a thermostat, can challenge a person with low vision. Using colored tape, a family member can mark the most common settings for you. Maybe 350 degrees for the oven or 72 for the thermostat? Just put a thin piece of brightly colored tape on the dial and one on the oven at the proper place and line the tape up for the setting. The rehabilitation staff of VisionCorps can make home visits to assist in this effort.
Finally, darkness can create major safety issues for people with vision problems (especially those with “night blindness” from retinitis pigmentosa). Keep a flashlight near your bedside in case of emergency. With our power outage issues this winter, this is especially useful this time of year! There are many options here, from fully installed lighting done by an electrician to simple rechargeable flashlights that plug into a home outlet.
Dr. Robert McClenathan provides Low Vision Services at VisionCorps. To make an appointment or submit a question, please call 717-291-5951 or 1-866-876-6550. This column is not an alternative to your physician’s medical opinion, and questions should be directed to your personal doctor.