Learning to live with a sight loss

Being diagnosed with a sight loss can be devastating.  You may lose confidence doing normal day to day tasks, worry about how you are going to get out and about, and be concerned about how you are going to manage independently.

You will find  you go through a process of adjustment as you learn to live with your sight loss.  Many people go through a process of grieving for their sight and the sighted person that they were, and it may take time learning to accept your loss of vision.  You may find it helpful to talk to someone about how you are feeling.  This has been shown to help people with a sight loss come to terms with their situation.  Everyone's journey will be different however you may find some of the tips below helpful.  If you are unsure or have any questions, please contact staff at NESS who would be pleased to help.

Independent daily living

Most people with a vision loss are very familiar with their own home, and don't find it difficult to find their way round.  However you may find some areas are less comfortable to be in or activities that you used to be able to do have become more difficult to do.

You may find that in some parts of your home there is not enough light or  on sunny days the light pours through the window causing glare.  Glare occurs when light bounces round the eye causing discomfort.  Many people are affected by glare.  Exploring ways of controlling the light in your house by increasing lighting in some areas or reducing it in others may help you round the house.

You may find that cooking at home has become more difficult - you may find it difficult to read the dials on the cooker, microwave or washing machine, or see the cooker timer.  There are many gadgets that can help you in the kitchen to feel safer when cooking - a rehabiliation worker can provide you with information and advice to learn to use some of the kitchen gadgets.  Bump-ons, which are raised coloured dots that you can feel, can be used to mark dials.  One of the simplest gadgets that is used by many people is a liquid level indicator, a small electronic gadget that sits over the edge of your cup and beeps when the cup becomes full.  This simple gadget allows you to make a hot drink safely. 

Getting out and about

You may find you have lost confidence getting out and about yourself.   Sometimes, bright light can be uncomfortable, or you may worry that you get lost or that you fall because of your sight loss.  Getting dark wrap-around sunglasses may help to protect your eyes from the glare.  Our social workers or rehabilitation workers will be able to provide you with information, advice and training to get out and about independently.

Reading

For many people with a sight loss, reading becomes very difficult.  There are many things that can help with reading.  The opthalmologist might refer you to the Low Vision Aid (LVA) clinic.  The LVA clinic  provides advice about making the most of the vision you have.  They may prescribe magnifiers to make text bigger, to meet your needs.

You may find you want written information in large print, or you may prefer to get information in audio (spoken) format.   You may want to use computer technology to help you get the information you need.  There is a lot of technology that reads information to you, so you don't have to rely on someone else to read it.  Staff at NESS can provide more information and advice about different ways of accessing written information.