Author Archive

Cooking made possible while living with low vision

Posted on: March 1st, 2020 by lowvision

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.



January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Posted on: January 4th, 2020 by lowvision

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.

Living with Low Vision: A Patient’s Perspective

Posted on: February 4th, 2016 by lowvision

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

Posted on: February 2nd, 2016 by lowvision

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

Posted on: December 22nd, 2015 by lowvision

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 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!

5 Things You Should Know About Diabetic Eye Disease

Posted on: November 17th, 2015 by lowvision

Did you know that November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month? Did you know that diabetes can cause eye disease? If left untreated, it can cause vision loss or even blindness. To help you keep your vision healthy, here are five things the National Eye Institute (NEI) would like you to know about diabetic eye disease:

1. People with diabetes may face several eye problems as a complication of this disease. They include cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness in American adults age 20–74.

2. In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy has no symptoms. A person may not notice vision changes until the disease advances. Blurred vision may occur when the macula swells from the leaking fluid (called macular edema). If new vessels have grown on the surface of the retina, they can bleed into the eye, blocking vision.

3. Anyone with diabetes is at risk of getting diabetic retinopathy. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get this eye disease. In fact, between 40 and 45 percent of those with diagnosed diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.

4. That is: Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor; Reach and maintain a healthy weight; Add more physical activity to your daily routine; Control your ABC’s—A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels; and Kick the smoking habit.

5. If you have diabetes, be sure to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Diabetic eye disease can be detected early and treated before noticeable vision loss occurs.

To learn more, visit

Are you concerned about driving as you age?

Posted on: October 29th, 2015 by lowvision

Your eyesight can change as you get older. It might be harder to see people, things, and movement outside your direct line of sight. It may take you longer to read street or traffic signs or even recognize familiar places. At night you may have trouble seeing things clearly. Glare from oncoming headlights or street lights can be a problem. Depending on the time of the day, the sun might be blinding.

Low vision eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, as well as some medicines, can also cause vision problems.

Safe driving tips from the National Institute on Aging include:

  • If you are 65 or older, see your eye doctor at least every 1 to 2 years. Ask if there are any ways to improve your eyesight. Many vision problems can be treated. For instance, cataracts might be removed with surgery.
  • If you need glasses or contact lenses to see far away while driving, make sure your prescription is up-to-date and correct. And always wear them when you are driving.
  • Cut back on night driving or stop driving at night if you have trouble seeing in the dark. Try to avoid driving during sunrise and sunset when the sun can be directly in your line of vision.

If you ever feel unsure of yourself behind the wheel, turn in your keys and make an appointment with a low vision specialist who can help you with devices and vision rehabilitation to help you determine your safe driving plan. To find a low vision specialist in your area, click here.

How do YOU deal with your low vision?

Posted on: October 15th, 2015 by lowvision

Each person’s story about living with low vision is unique. Some are new to the low vision community, while others have been living with low vision for many years. One of the best ways to come to terms with low vision is to learn how others cope in the real world with visual impairments.

Read more about one woman’s journey with low vision here: Lori’s story

How smartphones and apps are liberating the blind and visually impaired

Posted on: August 18th, 2015 by lowvision

Have you found any great apps or computer programs to help assist you or a loved one with your day to day activities?

The San Jose Mercury News published a great article listing some of the available resources for living–and computing–with low vision.

Ruben Morales, a blind 59-year-old retired engineer who lives in Morgan Hill, has used a specialized screen-reading program for years to write and run spreadsheets on his desktop computer.

But just this month, he figuratively cut the cord to his desktop and joined the mobile revolution. Morales was visiting the Veterans Affairs Department’s Western Blind Rehabilitation Center in Menlo Park learning how to use an iPhone’s features for vision-impaired people.

“It’s pretty amazing.” Morales said, demonstrating how he can call up a song and play it with a few taps. “Whatever I can do on the computer I can basically do it on the iPhone. It has the same capability.”

Click here for the full article

Selecting the Best Pair of Sunglasses for You

Posted on: May 27th, 2015 by lowvision

Why do we wear sunglasses? Perhaps when we were younger, we thought they looked cool. And they did. They still do. But more and more, we are looking at sunwear as not only a fashion accessory, but also as a health necessity. The sun that does damage to our skin, causing sun burn, age spots, wrinkles and even cancer, also can wreak havoc on our eyes. Again eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration have a direct connection with UV-damage to the eyes. Similar to the effect of sun damage on the skin, sun damage to the eyes is cumulative, meaning it’s never too early to start wearing sunglasses, but also to a point, some damage has already been done.

Research from The Vision Council, a non-profit trade organization for the optical industry, shows that although Americans are more aware of sun damage and the threat that UV rays pose on our visual health, we still are not protecting our eyes as much as we should. Although half of all baby boomers always or often practice sun safe eye health (53%), nearly 23% report rarely or never wearing shades. This is a pretty significant number, especially when we consider how easy protecting our eyes is: WEAR SUNGLASSES. Wear them every time you go outside during the day.

But is it this easy? How do you know that your sunglasses are working, and how do you select the best sunglasses to purchase? Let’s look at a few of the myths about sunglasses, and find out the truth about selecting your next pair of shades.

Myth #1: All sunglasses have UVA and UVB protection

Despite the health risks of UV exposure, not all sunglasses have UV protection. Since UV protection is crucial to shielding eyes from damaging radiation, it is imperative to look for a label, sticker or tag indicating UV protection before purchasing a pair of sunglasses.

Myth #2: Sunglasses with UV protection are expensive

You do not have to pay a premium price to get proper UV protection. Just be sure to purchase your sunglasses from a reputable retailer, regardless of price or retail location. Price will vary depending on the brands you prefer, your lens options, and any other add-ons, such as a prescription lens. Also, be sure to protect your purchase by using a glasses case when you are not wearing your glasses.

Myth #3: The darker the lens is, the better the protection

UV protection has nothing to do with the darkness or color of a lens. According to Dr. Justin Bazan, on optometrist from Brooklyn, NY, “Dark lenses without adequate UV protection can actually be worse than no sunglasses at all because they cause the eye’s pupil to dilate, which then increases retinal exposure to the unfiltered UV. Even though this may make eyes feel comfortable, it’s putting them at greater risk for damage.”

Over the past decade, designers and manufacturers have been constantly researching, testing and innovating new ways to advance the effectiveness and versatility of sunglasses. Talk with your eye care provider to learn more about the lenses and tints that work best for individual lifestyle needs.

Here are a few tips for making your next sunglasses purchase:

  • Buy from a reputable retailer, such as a store or online site. Unlike shades purchased from thrift stores or street vendors, sunglasses sold at trusted retailers meet frame and lens safety criteria set by industry standards.
  • Insist on protection from UVA/UVB rays. If you are unsure if a pair of sunglasses adequately blocks UV, many eye care providers can test the level of protection.
  • Select a lens color that improves clarity and reduces glare. Different colors and tints work in different ways.
  • When in doubt, consult a professional. Eye care providers will be able to make specific recommendations regarding which options are best for you. They can also often test an existing pair of sunglasses with a UV-meter to ensure that the sunglasses that you are wearing are providing proper protection.

For more information about UV eye safety, visit The Vision Council’s website,