Carolyn Almennigen | almennigen

Low Vision Survival Guide

Sep 14th 2010 at 10:16 AM

1. Use your other senses. You’d be surprised how much more sensitive your other senses will become. Or maybe you just pay more attention to them now.
2. To keep different paper money straight, try making folders from old file folders. Then glue different textures to them. I used corduroy for the singles, since the lines remind me of ones. Use shiny, fuzzy, and other textures to keep the fives, tens and twenties separate.
3. Use puffy paint to mark things. I can still see colors, so I marked the stove on either side of the oven knob; a red arrow pointing up for the direction you turn to get hotter, and a blue arrow pointing down for the direction you turn to get colder. I put a round black dot at 375 degrees, since most things are cooked there.
4. They sell gadgets to tell you when a cup is almost full, but I find my finger works just as well. If someone complains, tell him to pour his own drink.
5. Organization is crucial. If you can’t find it by eye, don’t leave it out and don’t put it in a different place each time.
6. They make talking gadgets. Blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors, microwaves, toaster ovens, oven thermometers, people thermometers, watches, almost anything. Look at www.maxiaids.com.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People are happy to help. Personally, I want to be as independent as possible.
8. Look up state and county agencies. They can get you stuff you can’t afford, like technological doo-dads that make life easier. Do your research so you know what you want.
9. There are many technological aids that really make reading easier. Video magnifiers make print larger, Reading software like Jaws read print files to you, Scanners transform text into files that the computer can read to you. Portable video magnifiers enlarge text so you can read menus and labels.
10. The old standbys work too. Magnifiers help reading and looking at photos. I prefer those with LEDs to light up what you’re reading. Companies that make good camera lenses, like Nikon and Zeiss, also make good magnifier lenses. Magnifiers come in different strengths and different sizes. I usually have a small lit 3x and a small 10x in my purse, and a large 3x and 6x near my reading chair.
11. Lighting is very important. I read best when the light level is about the level of a small thermonuclear device. I’m just glad I can read at all.
12. Large print is good; I wish more books came in large print. I’ve heard you can enlarge the print size in a Kindle reading device from amazon; I’ll let you know when I get one how it works out. Even “normal” people find reading large print is less tiring then regular print. However, it does make for a heavy book.

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