About Visual Impairment
There is no denying that a diagnosis of vision loss or visual impairment can present challenges that may feel insurmountable. It changes every aspect of life. However, it does not change who you are, what you believe or, what you want to accomplish. The first step towards an independent future is overcoming fear and uncertainty. The more you know about vision loss, the better you will be prepared to face it.
There are many reasons people may seek assistance or guidance with their vision loss. Our mission is to assist people who are visually impaired to achieve their highest level of independence. We provide tools, education, rehabilitation, job training, job placement, and support for people of all ages.
Common reasons people often seek our vision rehabilitation services include but are not limited to
- Macular Degeneration
- Diabetic Retinopathy (diabetic-related vision concerns)
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
Some of the most important things to remember when living with vision loss are:
- Contrast and Visibility
- Home Environment Organization
CONTRAST: In most cases, either black on white or white on black effectively maximizes visibility.
- If possible, paint walls and trim in contrasting colors to better identify doorways. Avoid glossy finishes; they can cause additional glare.
- Consider getting cutting boards in various colors in the kitchen: use the dark-colored one for cutting potatoes and onions and the light-colored one for cutting tomatoes and carrots.
- Some manufacturers are making pots and pans with white interiors; this can help increase contrast when cooking.
- If you can, purchase solid color plates and bowls, preferably black or white.
- Use with contrasting placemats or table coverings. This can make it easier to see the food on the plate.
- Use this same process for glassware, pour light-colored liquids in a dark glass or mug, and vice-versa.
- Use towels, washcloths, and bath mats that contrast with the tub, tile, wall, and floor in the bathroom.
- Throw a brightly colored sponge in the bath, so you better distinguish the height of the water more efficiently.
LIGHTING: There are times when additional lighting can be beneficial, and other instances can increase glare and cause more difficulty in seeing.
- Make sure that stairways are well lit and have hand railings that are secured to the wall.
- Use blinds or sheer curtains on windows to help natural control light.
- Try to avoid shiny surfaces on walls, floors, tables, and countertops.
- Be cautious when placing mirrors in any room. The reflection may cause additional glare.
- Provide adequate lighting for the activity you’re trying to do.
ORGANIZATION: Making a private or public environment comfortable and functional for individuals who are blind or visually impaired should be part of universal design that will benefit all users of a facility, whether it is a workplace or a home.
- Store equipment and supplies near the activity you’ll use them for.
- Always return things to the same place.
- Eliminate clutter wherever possible by disposing of unnecessary items and finding a place for everything else.
What should I know before initiating the conversation?
- Know the warning signs of potential driving problems. Is your relative easily distracted while driving?
- Has parking become erratic?
- Is the driver less confident, or do they fail to notice traffic activity to the right or left?
- Are there signs of scraping on the car, fence, or mailbox?
These are just a few of the signs. Try to observe the driver overtime to see if troublesome patterns emerge.
What about conversation starters? Are there especially appropriate times to break the ice?
While it’s best not to wait for a severe accident, 50 percent of older drivers surveyed reported being more open to discussing driving safety after a bad accident. Minor scrapes and near-misses are also opportunities to broach the subject. You could also express concern over a new medicine your parent may be taking and how that might affect driving. You may have even noticed that the driver has taken steps on their own, such as stopping night driving, for instance. Use this: “Dad, I’m glad you’ve decided to cut back on night driving.”