Low Vision Program designed to help

Published 7:48 am Thursday, February 8, 2007

While wearing your glasses, do you have difficulty picking out and matching your clothes, hitting the glass while pouring milk or reading street signs or names of buildings?

What about doing things at work or home because lights seem dimmer than they used to?

Maybe you are even having trouble reading this very article or performing other activities that require you to see up close — such as cooking, sewing and fixing things around the house.

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If you experience vision changes like these, you may have low vision.

Low vision is a visual impairment severe enough to interfere with occupational performance but allowing some usable vision. It is the third leading cause of disability in the elderly, preceded only by cardiac disease and arthritis.

Three diseases, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma primarily cause low vision.

Occupational therapy services are very beneficial for people with low vision because low vision can affect one’s activities of daily living.

Activities of daily living include but are not limited to dressing, grooming and bathing as well as financial management, meal preparation and housekeeping.

Occupational therapy can provide skilled training and compensatory techniques to utilize a person’s remaining vision as efficiently as possible.

We can make recommendations for non-optical aides to assist a person with low vision to complete their activities of daily living.

Examples include a talking watch or clock, template writing guides, bold line checks or liquid level indicators.

Home modification, safety education and assistive technology training may also be provided through occupational therapy.

Specific assistive technology training may also be provided through occupational therapy. Specific assistive technology training includes optical devices such as magnifiers and telescopes.

It is our goal to connect people with low vision to local and national support resources.

February is Low Vision Awareness Month. Investigate and learn as much as you can if you have or think you may have low vision.

Talk to your eye-care professional and doctor about your visual deficits.

The Low Vision Program at Deaconess Homecare can help you regain independence with daily life tasks limited by visual impairment.

If you have any questions about our low vision program and how occupational therapy can help, please feel free to call 601-442-8311 for more information.

Kelley Walker is an occupational therapist for Deaconess Homecare in Natchez.