Living with AMD Introduction Tools for People with Low Vision Care giving
Regardless of which form of AMD is present, actions to protect vision should be taken. Here are some ways that can help:
- Consistent application of an optical treatment plan. Attend all follow-up appointments
- Control of complication diseases such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Stop smoking. Smoking increases AMD risk. This single act is the most effective health intervention overall
- Wear a hat & sunglasses to block out harmful sunlight
- Consumption of antioxidant rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables and carrots
- Use of dietary supplements including vitamins A, C, E, and zinc. Carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin and mesozeaxanthin) and Omega-3 fatty acids may also be beneficial.
There are many AMD educational resources. Contact these organizations to get more information.
Tools for People with Low Vision
Even if vision loss from AMD has occurred, low vision devices and rehabilitation can help preserve independence. These may be provided in consultation with a low vision rehabilitation specialist.
Available low vision tools:
- Magnifying lenses or special eyeglasses to increase print size
- Telescopic lenses to help see distant objects more clearly
- Non-optical aids like low vision clocks, large-button phones and large-button TV remotes
- Closed-circuit televisions which magnify type, pictures and even handwriting
- Computers with large screens and special software to enlarge print and graphics
- Speech synthesizers to permit computers to talk to you
- Speech recognition software to assist your computer to understand your spoken commands
- Rehabilitation training, which may be covered through Medicare or other insurers
Low visions services that may be available include:
- Training in how to use low vision tools and devices (see above)
- Training to maximize remaining vision and avoid blind spots in the vision
- Adaptive techniques for specific activities of daily living
- Methods to improve lighting and contrast
- Ways to create safe, supportive environments for people with low vision
- Teaching skills to help people with low vision improve functioning in their communities, at work and within their families
Eye doctors or low vision rehabilitation specialists are best able to support patients regarding information about the devices best suited to their needs.
The kind of support someone with AMD requires is different for each individual. Some simply need help getting to and from treatments. Others may require more significant support.
Supportive measures can include:
- Daily vision checks using the Amsler grid
- Prompt professional examinations when vision changes are noticed
- Scheduled regular eye appointments
- Living space optimization to ease navigation
- Use of marking signs of names of things stored in drawers and cabinets
- Use of large printed lettering such as large-print/large-button items such as telephones, TV remotes, clocks, and more
- Look into area senior services—many communities offer transportation for older or disabled residents at no cost or for a nominal fee
- Investigate low vision tools on the Web and at the local drugstore
Many organizations offer information about caregiving, low vision counselling, training, and other special services.