Low vision will have negative effects on your quality of life particularly on your ability to perform everyday tasks, from reading books and watching television to doing household and office tasks. But it doesn’t mean that you will lose your independence! You have to make adjustments that will maximize whatever vision you have left and maintain an independent lifestyle.
Maximize Your Next-best Spot
Ophthalmologists call it the preferred retinal locus (PRL) while laymen call it the next-best spot – it’s easier to say and understand. Finding your next-best spot is particularly helpful when you have a scotoma, or a blind spot, in the center of your vision.
Here’s how to find and use it to your advantage:
- Imagine that the thing you need or want to see is in the center of a large clock.
- Move your eyes along the numbers on the clock starting from the 12 o-clock position and rotating clockwise.
- Observe when and where you see the thing most clearly, such as on the 3 o’clock position.
- Use that viewing direction whenever you want to look more clearly at an object or person.
Finding and maximizing your next-best spot takes practice but once you have mastered it, you will find that your life is better for it.
Maximize Your Vision Rehabilitation
With vision rehabilitation, you will learn to do old activities in new ways, from reading books to doing tasks at home. You can also use low vision aids recommended by a team of professionals.
Yes, you have to work with several healthcare professionals to achieve the best possible results in vision rehabilitation. The team may include an ophthalmologist, a low vision specialist, and an occupational therapist, as well as an orientation and mobility specialist, a rehab teacher, and a social worker or counselor. You can ask your eye care professional at Pearle Vision for referrals, if you need them.
Tip: Ask about the costs of the services and their insurance coverage. In most cases, Medicare will cover most of the services but the devices may be out-of-pocket costs.
During vision rehabilitation, you will learn techniques useful for dealing with everyday tasks. These include increasing the brightness of the lights in your home; reducing the internal and external glare by adjusting the lights and wearing wide-brimmed or wraparound sunglasses when you’re outside; and using heavy black felt tip markers when writing for yourself.
You can also use low vision aids. These include magnifying spectacles, hand magnifiers, and telescopes, as well as talking items, large-print reading materials, and electronic devices.
You may not be able to live your life in the same way as you did but you can still maintain your independence. Ask your doctor for assistance.