If you have a friend or family member with low vision or know others in your community who are partially sighted, here are a few ways you can help them maintain their independence and get the most out of their remaining eyesight:
Help them learn about low vision aids. Special optical devices called low vision aids often can enable people to use their remaining vision more effectively and do things they thought were no longer possible.
These devices include customized magnifiers for reading and other near tasks, computerized text-to-speech devices and handheld or spectacle-mounted telescopes for seeing objects in the distance. Many are covered by health insurance.
You can help by arranging a visit to their eye care practitioner to learn which optical aids will provide the most benefit. (If the practitioner doesn't usually work in low vision, he or she may recommend a low vision specialist in the area.)
A low vision exam is different from a regular eye exam and typically involves follow-up visits to help the person with low vision use the prescribed vision aidseffectively.
The practitioner also might suggest non-optical aids to help someone with low vision enjoy life more fully. Examples include audio books, large-print books and other large-print items, such as playing cards, clocks, phones and pillboxes