- I’m worried that my sight isn’t as good as it used to be. What should I do?
Are you concerned that your sight is not as good as it used to be? If so, you’re not alone. There are 1.8 million people in the UK with some level of sight loss. Have you visited an eye specialist yet? This is the first step to finding out about your sight loss. Visit an optometrist or ophthalmic optician: you can usually find a local practice on every high street. They can check your sight and see if your vision can be improved by glasses. An optometrist will also check the health of your eyes and can detect signs of eye disease. Many eye diseases are treatable, but act quickly as the sooner some conditions are treated, the easier it is to preserve your sight.
- I know my vision isn’t great: what can I do to make it easier to see things?
There are three simple principles that will make your life much easier if your sight is poor. Try to make things: Bigger – Bolder – Brighter – and you’ll find it easier to do everyday tasks and enjoy life.
- How do I make things bigger and easier to see?
The larger something is, the easier it is to see. If you struggle using the phone, check out resources like the RNIB shop: you can find phones with large numbers on large buttons, as well as watches with large clear numbers, easy to see kitchen scales, and large print games like scrabble.
- I’ve bought a magnifying glass but it doesn’t help. Do you have any tips?
A magnifier makes things bigger and easier to use too. There are many different types of magnifying glass, so you should get advice about which one will help you. There are techniques to learn to make the most out of any magnifier. A registered dispensing optician is trained to advise on low vision and help you learn to use the sight you have.
- How do I make things bolder and easier to see?
Bold lines are easier to see than faint ones, so to make it easier at home why not buy a pack of black marker pens with a medium thick or thick nib. This will allow you to write notes more easily and read back what you have written.
If you struggle with navigating your home, think about whether you can use bold black or white lines to help. A contrast strip on the edge of a stair can make it stand out, and contrasting tape on hard corners can save you from knocking yourself each time you pass.
- How do I make things brighter and easier to see?
If you find something hard to see, better light will always help. Try changing light bulbs for more powerful ones, and adding in an extra reading lamp that can shine over your shoulder when you look at a book. Look at the places where you find things difficult to see and think about whether you could add in extra light.
- I’ve just been told that my sight loss is permanent and feel like I’m in shock. How will I cope? Who can help?
If you have low vision that cannot be remedied with glasses, medication or an operation, there are still lots of things that can help you make the most of the sight that you have. At the hospital you should be put in touch with a low vision specialist who can assess you and recommend magnifiers or other technology to help.
Ask if you can be assessed by a rehabilitation officer who can help with practical adaptations to your home. You should also ask about mobility training, to help you get about independently.
The hospital or your GP may also be able to point you towards local support groups and a contact at Social Care. Social Care may be able to assist with equipment to make day-to-day life easier, including speaking clocks and telephones with larger numbers.