Vision loss can be a difficult experience, but there are ways to make it easier. Have you ever used a magnifier or reading glasses?
Vision loss is common and is highly likely to impact you or someone close to you in your lifetime. The World Health Organization estimates that Around 12 million Americans aged 40 years and up have some vision loss today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 4.2 million of those have uncorrectable vision impairment (1.02 million are blind), a number CDC expects to double by 2050, due to the rise in diabetes and other chronic diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that 2.2 billion people worldwide have a near- or distant vision impairment
When vision loss occurs, the surrounding tissues in the eye become less elastic and shrink. This Shift in the fluid can lead to decreased vision and distortion of surrounding objects. Fortunately, there are many ways to cope with vision loss.
Living with vision loss can be challenging, but there are many tools and resources available that can help you navigate your daily life more easily. One such tool is your smartphone, which can be equipped with a variety of assistive technologies that can help you see and interact with your environment more effectively. Here are some tips for using your smartphone to cope with vision loss:
1-Adjust the display settings
Many smartphones have display settings that allow you to adjust the size, contrast, and font of text and icons on the screen. These settings can make it easier to see and read text, especially if you have low vision. To access these settings, go to your phone’s “Settings” app and look for a section called “Display” or “Accessibility.”
2-Use voice commands
Many smartphones have built-in voice assistants, such as Siri or Google Assistant, that allow you to perform tasks and get information using your voice. You can use these assistants to make phone calls, send text messages, search the internet, and more. To use a voice assistant, press and hold the home button or say the “wake” word (e.g., “Hey Siri” or “Ok Google”).
3-Use a magnifier app
There are many apps available that use your smartphone’s camera to magnify text or objects in the environment. These apps can be especially helpful if you have low vision or need to read the small print. Some popular magnifier apps include Magnifying Glass with Light and Magnifier.
4-Use a screen reader
A screen reader is a software program that reads the text and buttons on your phone’s screen aloud. This can be helpful if you have difficulty seeing or reading text on the screen. Most smartphones have a built-in screen reader called “VoiceOver” (for iPhone) or “TalkBack” (for Android). To turn on a screen reader, go to your phone’s “Settings” app and look for a section called “Accessibility.”
5-Use a braille display
If you are blind or have severe vision loss, a braille display can be a helpful tool. A braille display is a device that connects to your smartphone and displays text in braille, allowing you to read and interact with your phone using your sense of touch. There are several braille displays available that are compatible with smartphones, including the BrailleNote Touch and the HIMS Braille Sense U2.
By following these tips, you can use your smartphone as a valuable tool to help you cope with vision loss and navigate your daily life more easily.
6- How to Identify Objects, Doors, and Distances
When someone is experiencing vision loss, it can be difficult to navigate their environment and identify objects, doors, and distances. However, there are a few strategies that can help them safely and efficiently navigate their surroundings.
One strategy is using a cane or guide dog. A cane can help someone with vision loss feel for obstacles in their path, while a guide dog can help lead them safely around obstacles and to their destination. Both of these options provide an extra layer of support and can be very helpful for those with vision loss.
Another strategy is using tactile markings or signs. Many public buildings, such as schools and hospitals, have raised tactile markings on doors and elevators to help those with vision loss identify them. These markings can also be used in a person’s home, such as on the edges of stairs or on door handles.
It can also be helpful to use verbal cues or descriptive language to identify objects, doors, and distances. For example, someone with vision loss could ask a friend or family member to describe the layout of a room, the location of a door, or the distance between objects.
Another useful tool for those with vision loss is technology. There are a variety of assistive technologies available, such as voice-activated smart assistants and screen readers, that can help with identifying objects, doors, and distances. These technologies can be very helpful in providing additional support and making daily tasks easier.
If you or someone you know is experiencing vision loss, it can be overwhelming and confusing. Here are some frequently asked questions about vision loss and their answers to help provide some clarity.
1-What is vision loss?
Vision loss is a decrease in one’s ability to see. It can range from mild vision loss, such as needing glasses to see clearly, to severe vision loss, such as being legally blind.
2-What causes vision loss?
There are many potential causes of vision loss, including age-related conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration, diseases such as diabetes and glaucoma, and injuries to the eye or brain.
3-Can vision loss be reversed or treated?
The treatment and prognosis for vision loss depend on the cause. Some causes, such as cataracts or certain types of glaucoma, can be treated with surgery or medication, while others, such as age-related macular degeneration, have no cure.
4-How does vision loss affect daily life?
Vision loss can significantly impact daily life, as it may be difficult to read, drive, or navigate unfamiliar environments. It can also affect employment opportunities and social interactions.
5-What resources are available for those with vision loss?
There are many resources available for those with vision loss, including low-vision clinics, assistive technologies, and support groups. It is important to seek out and utilize these resources to help cope with and manage vision loss.
6-How can friends and family support someone with vision loss?
There are a few ways friends and family can support someone with vision loss. These include offering help with tasks, such as reading mail or navigating unfamiliar environments, and being patient and understanding when the person with vision loss may need extra time or assistance. It is also important to be an advocate for the person with vision loss, helping them access the resources and support they need.
In conclusion, vision loss can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. By understanding the causes, treatments, and resources available, those with vision loss and their friends and family can better navigate and manage this condition.