Glaucoma-related vision loss is traumatic. It can mean relearning skills and changing your lifestyle. This can be frustrating, but it does not have to be an ultimatum. By obtaining the services of a certified vision rehabilitation therapist, you will be able to make the best use of your vision, handle a variety of daily activities, and live a safe and independent life.
Your eye doctor may recommend vision rehabilitation as part of your therapy. Vision rehabilitation therapists teach adaptive living skills to allow their patients to handle a variety of everyday activities, often with the use of assistive technology. Orientation and mobility specialists teach their patients how to move around at home and travel through their community using GPS technology, public transportation, canes, and other skills.1
Technology can expand your world, quite literally in some cases, Your low vision therapist will introduce you to technology that will help you read, use your computer, cook, work, and play games. For example, they might help you equip your kitchen with easy-to-read timers, spill guards, or devices to alert you when the pot is on the boil.2 The goal is to help you maintain your independence as you adapt and utilize this assistive technology.
Adaptive Independent Living Skills
Your vision rehabilitation specialist can offer you a wide variety of tips and tricks to make getting around, self-care, household organization, reading, and writing easier.3 Orientation and mobility are key here. Depending on the progression of vision loss, you may need to consult with someone who specializes in safe and efficient travel skills: knowing where you are, where you are going, and how to get there safely, whether it’s across the room, across the street, or across town. This is done by maximizing the way you use your senses combined with self-protective and human guide techniques, learning a long cane, to use landmarks, identifying intersections and determining traffic patterns, finding your way when lost, and using public transit.4 With the right training and equipment, your world can remain as large as you want it to be.
Professional Emotional Support
Vision loss is a painful thing, and sometimes it’s hard to get your mind around it. As with any loss, there are several emotional stages to get through. Help from your family and friends will make the transition easier, so will finding a professional and dedicated vision rehabilitation therapist to keep you confident and active.
Glaucoma-related vision loss is not the end of the world. There are people who can support you and help you cope with changes in your lifestyle. There are others who will train you to use the technology available to make life with low vision easier.