The OHC Learning Center is a new series of blog posts dedicated to telling the other part of having a visual impairment. OHC talks a lot about technology, but that’s not the only thing we do OverHere, we live with our visual impairments everyday and we would like to share how we accomplish daily tasks, and tiny tidbits of information that may give a little clarity to living with a visual impairment.
A Guide to Vision Loss for Family and Friends
Vision loss happens to families, not just individuals. If you have a parent, spouse, other family member, or friend who has gone through or is currently experiencing vision loss, you want to offer comfort and support. What you may want most of all,, is to see that person in the same light as before: independent, confident, & capable of living their life again. The information here can provide advice and direction on how to assist your loved one with adapting successfully to the many changes ahead.
How To Help Someone Who Is Visually Impaired
There are many ways to help someone with low vision or vision loss. You can take them shopping, help do home repairs, or just hang out and be a friend.
Causes of low vision or reduced vision may include hereditary conditions, eye injuries and eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
To learn more about the leading eye diseases visit our OHC Learning Center – Eye Conditions blog post.
How You Can Help
If you have a friend or family member with low vision, that is blind, or is in the process of losing their eye-sight, here are a few ways you can help them maintain their independence.
Offer to help them learn about vision aids. Special devices called vision aids often can enable people to use their remaining vision more effectively and do things they thought were no longer possible.
These devices include customized magnifiers for reading and other near tasks, computerized text-to-speech devices and handheld or spectacle-mounted telescopes for seeing objects in the distance.
To learn more about what technology aids OverHere Consulting has please visit our Products page.
You can help by offering to arrange a visit to their eye care practitioner to learn which vision aids will provide the most benefit. (If the practitioner doesn’t usually work in low vision or blindness, they may be able to recommend a low vision specialist, company Such as: OverHere Consulting, or agencies such as: Blind and Low Vision Services or VA VIST programs in your area.
The practitioner also might suggest other aids to help someone with low vision or blindness. Examples include audio books, large-print books and other large-print items, such as playing cards, clocks, phones and pillboxes..
You can offer to help by giving them a hand and light up their life. A few easy adjustments to the living areas of a person with low vision can improve visibility. Make sure their home is well lit, with high-wattage light bulbs and additional lamps or task lighting. The kitchen, bathroom and work areas all should be fully and evenly illuminated. The extra light may help prevent injury, or even falls.
Offer to help remove unnecessary household clutter.
Offer to help with organizing important items and packing up others that may not be as important.
Offer to help create a list of important phone numbers in large print on bold-lined paper. Include doctors, transportation and emergency contacts, and put the list in a convenient place.
Offer to be a shopping buddy. Getting out of the house can help lift the spirits of a person with low vision or blindness. If their vision is not good enough to drive, offer to take them grocery shopping once a week or whenever they need assistance.
Offer to help them make a shopping list ahead of time, and help them locate items on the store shelves. Encourage them to do as much of the shopping task as they can on their own, but be close by to help when needed.
Travel tips. Help the person with low vision or blindness learn about all transportation services that are available, including those provided by local transportation authorities, local churches and community groups. This will help with independence and building confidence after their vision loss or change of vision.
Things to Remember
Always remember it’s about what will help your friend, family member and not what you think is best for them. Let them be in the decision making process and don’t assume that you know what is best for their situation.