Low Vision Due to Glaucoma
Low vision due to glaucoma can cause difficulty with performing daily tasks as a result of light sensitivity and glare problems, loss of contrast sensitivity (color shading perception), and reduced visual acuity (distinguishing fine details). Glaucoma patients can also have some peripheral vision loss which diminishes their visual field. By utilizing assistive devices and seeking guidance from an occupational therapist, glaucoma patients with low vision can learn to maximize their remaining good vision and still enjoy an independent, active lifestyle.
Occupational Therapy for Low Vision Due To Glaucoma
Your glaucoma specialist may use a quality-of-life survey to assess how your glaucoma is affecting your daily life. If your vision is limiting your activities, your ophthalmologist may recommend that you get help from an occupational therapist or low vision specialist. An occupational therapist (O.T.) can provide assistance by evaluating lighting and other areas of the home to create a safer, more comfortable environment.
Your occupational therapist. can help you adapt to performing daily tasks in a new way, such as:
- Sorting medications: Specialized pill boxes and smart pill boxes are available to make compliance with glaucoma treatment.
- Using electronic devices to aid in managing glaucoma: Specialized magnifiers, e-readers, audio books, screen reading software, and other assistive devices can be utilized to help patients living with glaucoma.
- Modifying lighting: Effective lighting for glaucoma patients can not only help with vision but can also make the home safer.
- Creating color contrast: Using highly contrasting colors together will help glaucoma patients distinguish household items more clearly.
Occupational therapists can teach glaucoma patients new techniques, such as visual tracking and visual scanning, to utilize their good vision in a more efficient way. The goal of occupational therapy is to help patients lead as normal a life as possible with the ability to enjoy social and recreational activities and accomplish routine tasks successfully and safely.
Practical household tips for patients with Low Vision due to Glaucoma
Many simple changes can help patients with low vision function more easily. Incorporating these tips into your daily routine can help promote a healthy, safe, and satisfying lifestyle:
- Install non-skid rugs and grab bars to decrease the risk of accidental falls.
- Use contrasting colors whenever possible, such as placing dark food on a white plate or cutting light foods on a dark cutting board.
- Move any clutter, furniture, or appliances that may be a tripping hazard.
- Stay organized by designating places for your personal and household belongings. Label tray dividers to hold smaller objects. Clearly mark regularly used settings on appliances and devices such as the washer, dryer, stove, microwave, and thermostat with nail polish or dimensional fabric paint.
- Install and maintain good lighting to ensure all rooms are well lit. Use direct lighting to reduce glare.
- Request large print books and magazines when possible. Enlarge recipes and small print items on a photocopier or before printing.
- Separate clothes by color in the closet and hamper for matching purposes and easier sorting.
- Utilize online shopping and grocery delivery if driving with glaucoma is a problem.
Fellowship-trained eye doctors (ophthalmologists) are committed to helping patients live full and active lifestyles. If your glaucoma is affecting your ability to perform daily tasks, or you would like more information on managing glaucoma or occupational therapy for glaucoma, please visit our Access to Care resources page.