If you are one of the millions affected by macular degeneration, you must know that this degenerative eye disease can make everyday activities difficult. Even something as simple as reading a book or watching TV can be challenging. For example, you can do a few things to stay comfortably at home with low vision. In this article, we will share 13 tips on making a low-vision-friendly home to make everyday living easier.
What is macular degeneration?
It is a condition that impacts the macula, which is the central part of the retina, and occurs when the macula deteriorates or breaks down.
Macular degeneration symptoms
Symptoms of macular degeneration include blurred or distorted vision, difficulty reading or seeing fine details, and a change in color perception. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see an eye doctor for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
Why does a low-vision-friendly home play a crucial part in patients with macular degeneration?
A low-vision-friendly home design helps people with macular degeneration live as independently as possible while still enjoying their surroundings. In addition, it can provide them with a safe and functional environment to improve their contrast and visibility.
Helpful tips for a low-vision friendly home
Use bright and contrasting colors
Using bright colors can help make objects more visible and easier to see. This will help to increase the visibility of things in your environment and make it easier to navigate. Make sure there is plenty of natural light during the day, and consider installing additional lighting fixtures to help brighten up the space.
Keep things organized and uncluttered
One of the most important things you can do to help manage macular degeneration is to keep things organized and uncluttered. Try keeping all your documents in one place (like on a computer or filing cabinet) rather than scattering them around the house. And be sure to create systems (like color-coding) so that everything is easy to identify. In addition, avoid clutter by storing items that don’t have a specific purpose (like decorations).
Use clear labels
To make your home low-vision friendly, you’ll need to use clear labels on everything in the room so that people with macular degeneration can identify what’s important. For example, label all furniture and appliances to indicate where they should sit or stand to avoid obstructing views.
Incorporate different textures
One of the best ways to make a home for someone with macular degeneration is to incorporate different textures and patterns into the space. This can help stimulate the senses, which in turn can improve moods and cognitive function.
Use tactile cues
One way to make things easier is to use tactile cues – little touches or nudges that help you know where something is. For example, if you’re trying to find a mug in the kitchen cabinet, feel around for it until you find the right spot, and then grab it. You can also put a rug at the base of your stairs so that you can feel it when you’ve reached the bottom step or place a mat in front of your door so that you know when you’ve reached the threshold.
Use ramping and raised edges
Ramping is a gradual incline that can make it easier to get around your home. Raised edges can help you avoid bumping into furniture or tripping over objects.
Handrails are a great way to make homes more accessible for people with low vision. It can be installed on stairs, hallways, and anywhere else helpful. Handrails provide a stable surface for people to hold on to while navigating around the house to help them stay upright.
Use non-slip flooring
One simple tip is to use non-slip flooring throughout your home. This can help prevent falls and other accidents, especially for those with low vision. In these cases, you must have as much traction as possible when walking around your home so that you don’t fall and injure yourself.
Make doorways and hallways wider
This will allow you to navigate more easily around your home and avoid obstacles while walking. Wider doorways also make it easier for caregivers or family members to get in and out of the house without going through tight spaces.
Install assistive technology
This can help with everything from reading and writing to cooking and cleaning. There are several different types of assistive technology available, so it’s crucial to find one that’s right for your needs.
For example, if you need help with reading, special magnifiers and software can enlarge text on a screen or piece of paper. Some devices read text aloud, which can be very helpful for cooking or following a recipe. Installing assistive technology in your home can make a big difference in your quality of life if you have macular degeneration. It can help you stay independent and connected to the things you love.
Modify your appliances
One of the most important things is to modify your appliances. For example, if you have a stovetop with knobs on the front, you can replace those knobs with ones that are easier to see and use. Also, keep cords and wires hidden to help prevent trips and falls and reduce visual clutter.
Use non-slip mats in the bath and shower
Slippery surfaces can make it difficult for those with macular degeneration to get around safely and increase their risk of falling. To make your home as low-vision friendly as possible, put non-slip mats in the bath and shower. These mats help keep water from pooling on the floor, creating a non-slippery surface, providing an extra layer of traction, and preventing falls.
Use bright paint on doors
One simple tip is to use bright paint on your doors. This will make them easier to see, especially if you have trouble with contrast sensitivity. For example, you can add a reflective tape strip to the door’s top and bottom for even more visibility.
A low-vision-friendly home can make a big difference in the lives of people with macular degeneration to maintain their independence and quality of life.