Refer to an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
Meanwhile, OTs can provide interventions to enable the use of the client’s remaining visual acuity.
Increase background contrast
- Use black on white.
- Or apply bright colors (e.g., markers, tape).
- Using different types of light sources, color temperature, softness, placement, and wattage (higher is better).
- Without increasing glare.
- Beware of casting shadows.
Reduce background pattern
- Use solid colors instead of background surfaces.
- Reduce clutter in general.
Enlarge objects and features
- Print instructions in larger print.
- Relabel frequently used objects, e.g. medications, calendars.
- Encourage use of magnifiers.
- Change computer and electronics accessibility settings for low vision.
- Store or place frequently used items at a convenient eye level.
- Store less frequently used items lower or higher.
- Encourage clients to keep items organized.
- Put items back where they belong.
- Establish habits and routines to prevent tasks from becoming overwhelming.
- Modify tasks to reduce the number of steps or its complexity.
- Ensure adaptations such as glasses are used and kept clean.
- Warm water and soap work well to clean glasses.
- Use sunglasses for bright sunlight and light changes between environments.
- Minimize and remove fall hazards, e.g., phone charging cords
- Address psychosocial factors including social isolation, depression, anxiety, substance abuse.
- Address driving if client drives and potential hazards to self and others.
- Enhance other senses (auditory, tactile, olfactory) and use other strategies and assistive technologies to achieve the same function, e.g. Amazon Echo instead of using a light switch.
- Free library services for low vision, e.g. talking books, magazines, music.
- Lighthouse Information and Resource Center – www.lighthouse.org
- Local telephone companies may offer free directory assistance.
- Pharmacies may provide large-print medication labels.
- Businesses may provide larger-print products.
- Refer to an organization for white cane orientation and mobility (O&M) training BEFORE recommending guide dog training.
- Consider a guide dog for clients with experience using white canes.
Guide Dog Study
First-Time Experience in Owning a Dog Guide by Older Adults with Vision Loss – Li, K., Kou, J., Lam, Y., Lyons, P., & Nguyen, S. (2019). First-Time Experience in Owning a Dog Guide by Older Adults with Vision Loss. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 113(5), 452-463.
- Veterans can receive services and devices free of charge – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 844-698-2311
- American Diabetes Association: 800-342-2383
- American Foundation for the Blind 212-502-7633
- American Macular Degeneration Foundation 888-622-8527
- American Printing House for the Blind 800-223-1839
- Association for Macular Diseases/Ophthalmic Edge
- Glaucoma Research Foundation 800-826-6693
- Macular Degeneration Foundation 888-633-3937
- Macular Degeneration Partnership 888-430-9898
- Macular Degeneration Association 855-962-2852
- MD Support 888-866-6148
- National Eye Health Education Program
- National Federation of the Blind 410-659-9314
- National Institutes of Health database
- Vision AwareTM – Find Services for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired