Staying Independent with Macular Degeneration

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Staying Independent with Macular Degeneration

When people get older, the one thing that they fear the most is losing their independence because of some age-related disease. Macular degeneration is one such disease that could potentially take someone’s independence away and force them to rely on other people.

This disease basically causes the centre of the eye’s retina to deteriorate. As a result, the person’s field of vision is distorted toward the centre, causing blind spots.

They may not be completely blind, but they are certainly vision impaired. Normal activities like driving and reading are now difficult for them.

Macular degeneration usually causes depression and anxiety in the person who gets it. They feel like their life is over and that there is no hope. Fortunately, hope does exist because there are specific products available which can serve as aids.

These products can help you get around the house better and help you move outside on your own. That way, you won’t need to be so dependent on someone else to do these simple things. You can keep your independence and feel like a whole person again.

Below are 7 tips on how people with macular degeneration can stay independent.

1) Eyeglasses

Anytime you start to experience impaired vision, you should immediately make an appointment to see an optometrist. They can prescribe you special eyeglasses which have prisms built into them.

This gives you more magnification in what you’re seeing up close, especially when it comes to reading. Contrast can also be increased with yellow-tinted lenses. It all depends on what the optometrist thinks will work best to enhance your vision.

2) Handrails

Nothing is worse than having impaired vision and trying to climb stairs. For your safety, have handrails installed on the sides of all the stairways in your home.

You’ll need handrails to help guide you up to the steps and to keep you balanced in case you fall. This also helps when you take your last step up and must walk on the ground again. Handrails keep you upright.

3) More Lights

When suffering from macular degeneration, it is always helpful to have more light in your environment. Use bright white lights in all your rooms, including your stairways and hallways.

Don’t forget to put them in smaller uncommon areas for lighting, such as underneath your cabinets and around your drawers. To reduce the glare, you can have curtains installed on the windows to block out the sunlight.

4) Walking Cane

When you leave the house, it is customary for a visually impaired person to walk with a cane. Since you’ll still have some vision left, you won’t be completely blind.

Therefore, you should be able to find your way around on your own with the help of the cane. But you’ll have to walk to the places you want to go. If you need to drive, have someone else drive you or make of public transport if it is available in your area.

5) Voice Commands for Smartphones

Smartphones will be a nightmare to try to read. The screens and fonts are too small for someone with macular degeneration to see clearly. Fortunately, the newest smartphones have voice control technology where you don’t even need to tap buttons anymore.

You just talk to the A.I. software and give them verbal commands of what you want it to do. You can have it dial a phone number, check your voice mail, check your email, search websites, and more. In fact, putting more smart technology with voice controls in your home is a good idea.  

6) Wear a Hat Outside

The sunlight can cause even more damage to your eyes if you have macular degeneration. Then your eyesight will be worse than it was before. To prevent this problem from happening, wear a hat whenever you go outside to cover your eyes from the sunlight. This means that your hat should at least have a visor in the front.

7) Doorway Ramps

Most porches and doorways are raised off the ground about 4 to 6 inches. This requires you to take a step up so that you do not slide your foot forward and trip on it. People with vision problems may have this kind of accident when they approach their porches and doorways.

To stop this from happening, you should purchase a doorway ramp. This is basically a rubber wedge which you put up against the front of the porch or doorway. It allows you to just walk straight up the ramp without having to step high or anything like that.

The rubber material is slip resistant, so there is virtually no chance of slipping and falling, ensuring your safety as you enter your home.

Feature image Pixabay License CCO
David Anthony

David has a background in Journalism and small business. David writes on culture, education and business. He also writes for Relevance and Medium.

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