Low Vision Therapy Aids for Independent Living
Working with an experienced low vision occupational therapist (OT) in your own home gives you the distinct advantage of matching your specific needs to the best overall solution. The OT will assess a variety of components including your functional vision, blind spots, visual field, need for contrast and lighting and any potential physical challenges.
Through trial and error, you and the OT will collaboratively determine which devices best fit your needs. The cost to you and any space constraints will be taken into consideration to help you make an informed decision. Receiving the proper training, coaching and practice will increase your level of success and satisfaction.
Therapy Aids For Independent Living provides you the opportunity to:
Try different aids and devices within your own home.
Trial optical aids while reading your mail, bills or watching TV.
Learn what would help create an optimal home environment for lighting, contrast and glare.
Identify what tools are available for managing medications, organizing your closets, handling your appointments, etc.
- Find out what applications and accessibility options can help you on your cell phone, computer and tablets.
Why in the home?
- Where you are doing your daily activities determines what low vision aids and devices are applicable, whether you’re working at the kitchen table, on the couch or in your favorite chair.
- The lighting in your home may impact whether you need a device or not.
- It’s important to make an assessment of what you already have available, since purchasing something new is not always practical or the best solution.
Low Vision Aids
There is a lot to consider regarding the different types of magnifiers, their capabilities, quality and plethora of features. It can be positively overwhelming just trying to decide what you need, not to mention how to use them! An occupational therapist will be your guide to help you identify the best device for your specific needs, assist you in familiarizing yourself with the features and teach you how to use it. This will ensure you pay for, and get the most out of, only what you need.
This category of magnifiers includes both stand and handheld magnifiers, reading glasses and telescopes. They come with or without illumination and in varying degrees of magnification and fields of view.
Although they may appear fairly simple at first glance, initially learning to use magnifiers can be somewhat confusing. Some need to be held close to the page and others further away. Some are meant for distance, while others are designed for close viewing. Understanding the magnification characteristics of these devices is an important piece of the puzzle.
Electronic magnifiers come in many different varieties and sizes depending upon the task or activity you want or need to do. They can be very helpful in the workplace and, in some cases, can even help you continue in your current job.
Desktop magnifiers have a camera that displays a magnified image on a monitor, which can be helpful for reading books, prescription labels, cooking instructions on products and other small print.
Portable digital magnifiers are hand-held and have a broad range of magnification powers. They can be taken to restaurants for reading menus or to the supermarket to read labels and coupons.
Non-optical aids include lighting and sunglasses to manage glare control. This category also includes items you can adapt in your home, such as tactile dots and talking aids like watches, timers and thermometers. Using a modified keyboard or large button phone or even a cutting board more suited for low vision can simplify everyday tasks. Many of these aids are low cost and easy to implement.