Living better with vision loss

Low vision rehabilitation can provide you with strategies and technology to live a full life, even with reduced vision.

Living with vision loss isn't easy for anyone. But it's important to know that you can still live a relatively independent life. A low vision rehabilitation (rehab) specialist or program — and a variety of techniques and adaptive devices — can help you meet many of your functional needs and make the most of your remaining vision.

Low vision rehabilitation

Vision rehab can't restore your vision, but it can give you self-assurance and allow you to maintain greater independence. A key part of vision rehab is relearning how to perform basic tasks, from using the phone to making your home safer. Rehabilitation for low vision can help you with strategies for:

  • Independent living, such as modifying how you cook, manage your money and travel from one place to another
  • Modifying your home to make it safer and easier to navigate
  • Use of assistive or adaptive technology, such as magnifiers and audio devices

Ask your doctor to refer you to a vision rehab specialist who can help you develop skills that allow you to continue taking part in day-to day activities.

Adaptive technology

One area a low vision rehabilitation specialist might discuss with you is adaptive technology. Adaptive technology exists to help meet your specific needs or goals despite your reduced vision. Not all technology or devices will be right for everyone, and you may need more than one device. Your specialist will help to find what works best for you.

Some examples of adaptive technology include:

  • Magnifiers. Magnifying devices can help you with reading and other close-up work. Such devices include hand-held or standing magnifying lenses or magnifying lenses you wear like glasses. You may also use a closed-circuit television system that uses a video camera to magnify reading material and project it on a video screen.
  • Computer or device display settings and audio systems. Adjust the font size in your computer's or device's settings. And adjust the display to show more contrast. You could also add speech-output systems or other technologies to your computer.
  • Electronic reading aids and voice interface. Try large-print books, tablet computers, text-to-speech devices and audio books. Some tablet and smartphone apps are designed to help people with low vision. And many of these devices now come with a voice recognition feature.
  • Appliances made for low vision. Some clocks, radios, telephones and other appliances have extra-large numbers or talk. You may find it easier to watch a television with a larger high-definition screen. New television models come with audio accessible menus and guides. Some television programs also come with audio descriptions — short descriptions of key scenes or actions for greater context.
Oct. 01, 2019 See more In-depth