Changes in Eye Sight
Between the extremes of vision that are normal (or can be corrected to near normal with eyeglasses) and blindness, there is a problem called low vision. Every effort should be made to ensure that all reversible aspects of visual change are treated in patients who suffer from low vision. The vision that remains forms the baseline from which the patient and the caregiver must work.
Important Points in Treatment
The principal resources for the treatment and management of low vision are a low vision specialist and a low vision clinic. Many devices and resources are available to help vision-impaired patients. Most people are familiar with large-type books, recordings, and descriptive television. Many other devices also are available to help compensate for vision loss, and there is a need not only to find them but to train vision-impaired patients in their proper use. It is in this area that low vision specialists and low vision clinics offer particular assistance.
Much can be done to modify the home surroundings to allow the patient with low vision to adapt. Adequate light evenly distributed to avoid glare is important. One can substitute color and contrast for bland backgrounds to help in the identification of each room. It helps for a patient to know that blue is the bedroom, pink is the living room, white is the bathroom, green is the kitchen, and so on. Contrast may also help the patient around within the room—for example, the color of the furniture and furniture coverings should contrast with the color of the floors, carpets, and walls. Similarly, china, glassware, and cutlery should contrast with the tabletop, tablecloth, or place mat and with one another. Transparent glass tabletops simply disappear for a patient with low vision. Selection of colors for their contrast rather than their aesthetics may produce unusual combinations, but it also keeps the objects visible to an individual with low vision.
Night-lights, glowing switches, and other lighted or glow-in-the-dark guides can aid a patient in getting from the bed to the bathroom or from the bed to the kitchen at night. Where possible, it may be desirable to mount light switches outside the room so that the patient does not need to enter a darkened room and grope for a switch. Switches are available that permit such a change without the need for rewiring. With thought and imagination, independence in living can be restored to patients with low vision.
- Much can be done to modify the home surroundings to allow the patient with low vision to adapt.
- Selection of colors for their contrast keeps objects visible to an individual with low vision.