Low vision is a condition which results in visual acuity of 20/70 or poorer in the better-seeing eye which cannot be corrected or improved with regular eyeglasses. One of the most common eye diseases that causes low vision is age-related macular degeneration. February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness and Low Vision Awareness Month, so let’s explore some low vision aids that can help you see clearly if you are affected by low vision.
Use Alexa, Siri and Other Device Voice Commands
Thanks to Siri and Alexa, almost anything is possible through voice commands on your smartphone or smart home system. You can check the weather, get the news, control your lights or make a phone call with the sound of your voice. You can also purchase computers, watches, timers, blood pressure cuffs or blood sugar machines that communicate data through sound instead of numbers and images.
Read E-Books and Audio Books
Age-related macular degeneration affects central vision, which makes even large print books difficult to read. Electronic readers like Kindle or Nook allow you to customize your font, type size and contrast so you can continue to read those New York Times Best Sellers. If you would rather be read to, try a subscription to Audible or reserve your favorite books at the library on audio CD format.
Buy Devices with Large buttons and Contrasting Colors
Having low vision can make it difficult to use telephones, thermostats and remote controls. Look for devices with large-sized numbers and buttons and high-contrast colors to help you use these everyday necessities more efficiently.
Use Stand Magnifiers, Hand Magnifiers and Magnifying Spectacles
With appropriate magnification and bright light, you may still be able to read, sew, complete a crossword puzzle or read a hand-written note. You may also find it helpful to replace your light bulbs with higher watt bulbs and add more lamps in darker areas of your home (source: American Academy of Ophthalmology).
Don’t allow age-related macular degeneration and low vision to rob you of your independence. Talk to your ophthalmologist for more visual aids and tips to manage low vision. The best decision you can make is to schedule yearly eye exams to maintain your eye health and prevent vision loss.