If you suffer from sight loss or have a visual impairment, learning to live with low vision can feel daunting and confusing, but there are some tips and tricks that can make your daily life easier.
We have prepared a list of ideas to help you make things easier to see by making them Bigger, Brighter or Bolder. Find them below:
Contrast - Make it Bolder
These are some tips to help you make objects stand out so they're easier to find around your home.
- Using a coloured electrical socket or plug can help it to be seen.
- Putting a coloured mark on a light switch to view it and/or adding a raised part so that it can be felt can aid vision.
- Writing with a felt-tip or fibre tip pen can produce higher contrast letters than a ball point pen.
- You can also have lined paper with thicker and darker lines than normal.
- A white tissue could be placed on a dark tablecloth to help locate dark objects placed there, such as a purse or spectacle case.
- White cups for hot dark drinks such as tea and coffee. Tea or coffee should be poured in before the milk as the white milk might not be seen.
- Tools could be carried around the house or garden in a white bucket so that they are not lost and can be seen against the background.
- Where possible, decoration should include pale carpets and walls to reflect the available light and to contrast with dark furniture. Pure white walls may cause glare and be uncomfortable, though. Matt paint will avoid the glare of shiny, gloss paint.
- A border stuck around the edge of the room can help to make the walls stand out.
- Dark contrasting door knobs will be more easily seen on a light surface and may stop a person bumping into the door.
- To make doors stand out, paint the door a contrasting colour to the door frame. Having the frame a contrasting colour to the wall will also make it easier to see.
- Fix a contrasting colour edge strip to your stairs to make each step stand out more.
- In the kitchen, painting or putting contrasting colour edges on work surfaces will make the edges stand out.
- Contrasting colours can aid vision, such as chopped dark vegetables on a white board, sponge cake mixture in a dark-coloured bowl but chocolate cake mixture in a light-coloured bowl.
- Pale crockery will be seen best against a dark tablecloth or surface – if using a white table cloth use crockery with a dark colour or dark edge band.
- Food should be arranged on a contrasting colour plate e.g. carrots on a white plate, fish on a dark plate.
- Use kitchen utensils that are not matched with different colour handles. If those you have are all the same colour, coloured tape could be wrapped around the handles.
Magnification - Make it Bigger
It might sound common sense, but the bigger objects and text are, the easier it will be to see them clearly.
- Use a magnifying glass when reading and working on diverse tasks.
- Using a reading stand which can be tilted provides a firm surface on which to place reading material. This can make the reading position more comfortable for someone who may have to be very close to what they are reading.
- A double-ended clamp can be used to hold a hand magnifier in position and fixed to a table so that it's used like a stand magnifier.
- Products with large numbers and print can be an aid, such as large print books. Watches, clocks and telephones with large numbers can also be helpful.
- Normal sized text could be enlarged using a photocopier to make it easier to see, e.g. for a recipe.
- When watching television you could move your chair closer to the screen to help you see it better. You can also use spectacles that have been specially designed for watching TV.
Illumination - Make it Brighter
A bright, clear illumination can also make the difference!
- Using a lamp which is adjusted so the light is directly on the page can aid viewing.
- Keep the levels of lighting in your home the same as far as possible, as it can take longer to adjust to different levels of light with low vision.
- If light outside is too bright, use coloured filter or tinted glasses with side shields or clip-ons.
- In the kitchen, fix spotlights or fluorescent strip lights to shelf units or cupboards so that they shine directly on the work surface.
- Ensure windows are clean and curtains pulled back to let in maximum light.
- If you are sitting near a window, ensure that the light comes over your shoulder, so it illuminates the task you are doing directly.
And remember, it can also help to be organised in where you and the people you live with put things. If you can put an item in the most appropriate place and make sure to always put it back there, you'll always know where to find it again.