January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

As you plan for a healthier year ahead, why not add this sight-saving exercise to your list of resolutions: Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam. It’s the only way to find out for sure whether you have glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in America.

Glaucoma is often referred to as the “sneaky thief of sight” because it has no symptoms in its early stages. If detected early, before noticeable vision loss occurs, glaucoma can usually be controlled and severe vision loss can often be prevented. Vision that is lost from glaucoma cannot be restored. This is one of the many reasons that having an annual eye exam is so important.

Anyone can get glaucoma, but those at higher risk include:

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos
  • People with a family history of the disease

Start the new year off right by learning more about the health of your eyes, how to keep your vision healthy, and how to manage your vision as you age. To find a low vision professional, click here.



Cooking made possible while living with low vision

For many people living with low vision, dining out often is not financially possible. It’s also difficult at times to travel to a restaurant and read a menu without struggling or asking for assistance. For others, cooking inside the home and feeding themselves and family members is comforting, fulfilling, and tradition. But cooking at home while living with low vision can be difficult. There are measurements to be made, hot surfaces to contend with, and sharp knives that must be used. Never fear, these helpful tips from The Washington Post can make cooking at home while living with low vision not just possible, but enjoyable too.

  • Organization is essential. Be sure to have everything it its place. Counter tops should be clear of clutter and each cooking bowl, tool, and ingredient should have its place.
  • Contrast is key. Having a few sets of measuring cups or working bowls will prove to be very helpful. Measure milk in a brightly colored cup, for instance,  to accentuate the difference in color. Cut meat or vegetables on a white cutting board to make them easier to see.
  • Tools are necessary. Special oven mitts, pot holders, and other items can make reaching for a hot pot or pan less dangerous and burns less frequent.
  • Communication is needed. Talking timers and thermometers are available making both setting a gauge and measuring time and temperature both simple and accurate.
  • Trinkets are helpful. Egg slicers, apple corers and cutters, and other specialized tools make tasks easier and keep fingers free from injury.

Beyond these tips, there are online retailers such as Low Vision Chef and LS&S Products who cater to low vision cooks. Their products offer the elements mentioned above, and also feature raised bumps or even Braille to help make whipping up a masterpiece in the kitchen even easier.

To read the article from The Washington Post, click here.

 

 



Living with Low Vision: A Patient’s Perspective

Living with low vision is not easy. Many people, upon first receiving a diagnosis of low vision or an aging eye disease, have a hard time coping with how they will retain their independence as their sight begins to fade.

There are many people living productive, independent lives with low vision diseases. One prime example is Ruth Lotz, a woman living with macular degeneration. Her story comes from the National Eye Institute, and is inspiring for patients and care givers alike. In honor of Low Vision Awareness Month, take a few moments to be comforted and invigorated by Ruth’s story.

Watch Ruth’s video here. 



February is Low Vision Awareness Month

February is Low Vision Awareness Month. This February, start the month off right by having a low vision examination.

A low vision examination is quite different from the basic examination routinely performed by an eye care provider. This exam–often done by a low vision specialist–includes a review of your visual and medical history, and places an emphasis on the vision needed to read, cook, work, study, travel, and perform and enjoy other daily activities. The goals of a low vision exam include assessing the visual needs, capabilities, and limitations of your vision, assessing the presence or warning signs of aging eye diseases, and evaluating and prescribing low vision therapies. In addition to the medical diagnosis and evaluation, education and counseling of family and other care providers, referrals to low vision resources and support groups, and training on low vision devices will round out the exam.

The low vision examination takes much longer than a typical eye exam, but the information gained can be invaluable. No matter what your visual acuity, it is important to understand any diagnosis you may receive and to keep your eyes as healthy as you possibly can.

If you are interested in a low vision exam, you can find a low vision specialist here.



Making spirits bright over the holidays

The holidays can be wonderful, but the many activities surrounding this time of year can present some unique challenges for persons with low vision. Fortunately, by utilizing a few basic adaptive strategies and aids, anyone with low vision can enjoy all the opportunities this special season has to offer! If you or someone you know has low vision, this Top Ten Tips and Tricks from SeniorJournal.com and the Hadley School for the Blind will assist you in making the holidays fun and accessible:

  1. If sending holiday greeting cards is one of your traditions, using a writing guide or template and a flair tipped pen can keep this activity easy and enjoyable.
  2. Why not transfer a holiday contact list in an old address book to a new, large print version? This can be a terrific activity for a helpful grandchild.1)   If sending holiday greeting cards is one of your traditions, using a writing guide or template and a flair tipped pen can keep this activity easy and enjoyable.
  3. Cooking is a time-honored pastime. If favorite recipes are becoming difficult to read, consider re-typing them in large, bold font and preserving them in a large print recipe book. You might also consider sliding each page into a plastic sleeve that can be wiped clean of spills. What a perfect gift for a friend or relative with low vision!
  4. Speaking of cooking, when preparing a holiday meal, keep all pot handles turned toward the side of the stove. This will keep them out of the way and prevent unnecessary spills.
  5. Lighting your home for the holidays is a fun and important part of the season.  Make sure all extension cords are safely out of the way of foot traffic to prevent accidents.
  6. When visiting friends and family, why not bring along a flashlight to illuminate dark walkways and entryways?
  7. If company visits, ask them to remember to close cabinets, not to leave doors ajar, and to respect home organization.
  8. Holiday shopping is a pleasure, but reading small labels on merchandise can be difficult. Bringing along a handheld magnifier can make the experience easier.
  9. Going out to eat with friends is fun. Organizing your cash beforehand can reduce confusion when paying your bill. Keep denominations in separate compartments of your wallet or have a system or folding bills for identification.
  10. Finally, we all know how busy schedules are this time of year.  A large print calendar and a low vision or talking watch will keep you up to speed on all the activities!

Using these tips can make for a very happy holiday and a safe and wonderful New Year!