Q & A

ALL

How can I help my mother to continue reading books with progressing macular degeneration?

There are two immediate options to consider. Both require a bit of adjusting, and are well worth the effort.

The Kindle Paperwhite can bridge a wide gap caused by age-related macular degeneration. The screen is back lit, high resolution, glare free, with customizable font sizes and style. She can pick books from an Amazon sized library. Newspapers can be subscribed to on the Kindle as well, and customer support is available whenever needed. Read “Amazon’s Easy Buttons.”

Your Mom should also get registered for the National Library Service’s Talking Books Program, which is completely free and easy to manage. Read “Get Back The Joy Of Reading With NLS.”

Paying monthly bills, and especially Writing checks, has become an arduous and unpleasant task. How can I minimize the difficulty?

It’s time to start setting up alternative methods to make payments. There are numerous options for paying bills including: online payments, automatic withdrawals, credit card payments, and even payments by phone. The company that is billing, or the bank, can help you set up the account for electronic payment. It can be set to happen automatically on a scheduled date, or set to authorize  each payment individually.

What is eccentric viewing?

Eccentric viewing helps people with central vision loss see better by utilizing their unaffected peripheral sight. Looking at a subject with damaged central vision makes it disappear; looking away makes it reappear in the peripheral field.

The method can be learned with practice by slightly averting the eyes (left, right, or even up or down). It can be very useful to daily function, navigation, and identification.

Also known as Preferred Retinal Loci (PRL).

What is low vision?

Low vision is a visual impairment not correctible by lenses or medical intervention that may impede certain aspects of daily function. 

Low vision is a term not well know to the general population and  more often referred to as visual impairment.

What is Legal Blindness?

Legal blindness is a baseline measurement of vision loss that qualifies for benefits. Most government agencies and healthcare institutions agree it refers to a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

Legal blindness always requires both eyes meet the minimum measurement;  there is no such thing as “legal blindness in one eye.”

Legal blindness should not be confused with “blindness” which is generally understood to mean an inability to differentiate light from dark or see at all. Most people who qualify for legal blindness have varying degrees of usable vision.

What is visual acuity?

Visual acuity is usually measured with a Snellen eye chart. The standard for “normal” vision is 20/20. This means that the person being tested sees the same line of letters on the chart at 20 feet that the person with normal vision sees at 20 feet. 

A visual acuity of 20/70 means that the person being tested sees at 20 feet what a person with normal vision can see at 70 feet.

On a recurring basis I see things that I know are not there, like a willow tree suspended in mid-air, and a plaid covered hillside. Am I losing my mind along with my sight?

No need for alarm. These are purely visual (not mental). The experience, known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome (link to our article), affects people later in life with progressed visual impairments. The visions are usually pleasant patterns, objects, or faces. If they’re unpleasant, a blink of the eye should make them disappear.

Can I take steps to preserve vision even after a diagnosis of macular disease?

Yes, it is as important for you as it is for everyone to follow this good advice. Get regular eye exams. Protect your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun. Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. And don’t smoke.


ADJUSTING


How can I help my mother to continue reading books with progressing macular degeneration?

There are two immediate options to consider. Both require a bit of adjusting, and are well worth the effort.

The Kindle Paperwhite can bridge a wide gap caused by age-related macular degeneration. The screen is back lit, high resolution, glare free, with customizable font sizes and style. She can pick books from an Amazon sized library. Newspapers can be subscribed to on the Kindle as well, and customer support is available whenever needed. Read “Amazon’s Easy Buttons.”

Your Mom should also get registered for the National Library Service’s Talking Books Program, which is completely free and easy to manage. Read “Get Back The Joy Of Reading With NLS.”

Paying monthly bills, and especially Writing checks, has become an arduous and unpleasant task. How can I minimize the difficulty?

It’s time to start setting up alternative methods to make payments. There are numerous options for paying bills including: online payments, automatic withdrawals, credit card payments, and even payments by phone. The company that is billing, or the bank, can help you set up the account for electronic payment. It can be set to happen automatically on a scheduled date, or set to authorize  each payment individually.


TERMS


What is eccentric viewing?

Eccentric viewing helps people with central vision loss see better by utilizing their unaffected peripheral sight. Looking at a subject with damaged central vision makes it disappear; looking away makes it reappear in the peripheral field.

The method can be learned with practice by slightly averting the eyes (left, right, or even up or down). It can be very useful to daily function, navigation, and identification.

Also known as Preferred Retinal Loci (PRL).

What is low vision?

Low vision is a visual impairment not correctible by lenses or medical intervention that may impede certain aspects of daily function. 

Low vision is a term not well know to the general population and  more often referred to as visual impairment.

What is Legal Blindness?

Legal blindness is a baseline measurement of vision loss that qualifies for benefits. Most government agencies and healthcare institutions agree it refers to a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

Legal blindness always requires both eyes meet the minimum measurement;  there is no such thing as “legal blindness in one eye.”

Legal blindness should not be confused with “blindness” which is generally understood to mean an inability to differentiate light from dark or see at all. Most people who qualify for legal blindness have varying degrees of usable vision.

What is visual acuity?

Visual acuity is usually measured with a Snellen eye chart. The standard for “normal” vision is 20/20. This means that the person being tested sees the same line of letters on the chart at 20 feet that the person with normal vision sees at 20 feet. 

A visual acuity of 20/70 means that the person being tested sees at 20 feet what a person with normal vision can see at 70 feet.


HEALTH


On a recurring basis I see things that I know are not there, like a willow tree suspended in mid-air, and a plaid covered hillside. Am I losing my mind along with my sight?

No need for alarm. These are purely visual (not mental). The experience, known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome (link to our article), affects people later in life with progressed visual impairments. The visions are usually pleasant patterns, objects, or faces. If they’re unpleasant, a blink of the eye should make them disappear.

Can I take steps to preserve vision even after a diagnosis of macular disease?

Yes, it is as important for you as it is for everyone to follow this good advice. Get regular eye exams. Protect your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun. Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. And don’t smoke.


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