Q & A

ALL

I was informed, at my last eye exam, that I am now legally blind from macular degeneration. The doctor told me to stop driving (which I did long ago) and gave no other advice. What do you suggest I do now?

Speak with your physician again and ask for referral to a low vision specialist and vision rehabilitation services. Be aware there is much you can do, on your own, to live better with vision loss. Read: OE Agrees with AAO Advice, and listen to the OE Patients Podcast, Episode 4: Must Know Info for Adjusting to Low Vision.

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.

The ophthalmologist has referred me to a retinal specialist; however, I’m afraid of following through during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to lack of social distancing available as well as long delays in the waiting room. What is advised?

Give the retina doctor's office a call. Communicate your concerns and ask how they are dealing with social distancing in waiting rooms, spacing of patient appointments, mask wearing for staff and patient, cleaning of hands, equipment, etc. With appropriate changes in place, physicians offices can well minimize risk and elevate patient’s safety and comfort.

Recently I had a cataract operation on my second eye. For two weeks I’ve been unable to read without glasses, but vision is improving. How can I protect my eyes and keep them healthy?

Thanks for getting in touch. To protect your eyes, here are 5 Sight-Saving Habits To Start Today.

I am a 51 year old female diagnosed with early stage dry macular degeneration. I am concerned about visual deterioration over time as it is incurable and progressive. I am afraid and in search of something I can do to help minimize the loss of sight.

A diagnosis involving progressive vision loss is frightening, but we know people with dry macular degeneration generally can do well and adjust to the very slow progression over time. The result is impaired central vision, not blindness, and you can do your best to slow that progression by protecting your eyes from the sun and eating a healthy diet rich in whole fruits, especially citrus, leafy greens, and omega 3. Making small changes along the way will keep you doing all you need to do and love to do. Technology today accommodates every level of visual impairment. More detail about living with macular degeneration in these articles on OE.

And on the OE Patients Podcast.

I recently switched to an iPhone for the low vision accessibility and am very happy I did. I’m getting accustomed to it, but find I tend to quickly forget the steps involved in using features new to me. How can I do this with more success?

It is very common to forget steps you’ve taken just once or twice. Committing a process to memory, or memorizing the steps, takes repetition, 10 or 20 times. That is why the things we do every day become embedded in our muscle memory. If you don’t know, or have forgotten, no worries, just phone and get help from Apple’s Accessibility Support at 877-204-3930, they’re available 24/7.  Here are more tips for Learning at Any Age with Vision Loss.

I’m in the market for a new laptop or iPad, which do you recommend for best accessibility?

iPad Pro 12.9” has the versatility of both, with use of keyboard (or not) and all built-in Apple Accessibility features included. Can navigate with mouse, trackpad and touch.

I need a new iPhone but am not feeling good about upgrading to a model with no home button.

Many people had this concern, but it turned out to be a relatively easy transition. Just a few new screen swipes that will become natural in the first few hours. Adjusting to iPhone X & 11

Can you offer any tips to increase accuracy in Speech to Text or Dictation, as I often find that the text that is transcribed is very different from what I said.

Enunciate clearly. Speak punctuation, symbols, new lines, etc. Always best with minimal ambient noice. Dictate one sentence at a time for easier correction of error. Practice definitely improves ability. More on OE: Are You A Dictator?

Hello, I want to find a mobile phone with the most up-to-date technology for vision loss. Does anyone have any suggestions? Also, are there any seminars to help those with vision loss to use smartphones? Thanks!

The iPhone has the best accessibility features for vision and is by far the most popular mobile phone used by people with vision loss. Linked below are some of our articles on the subject. The are regular workshops at Apple Stores and other options depending on where you are.  Check local libraries, senior centers and vision rehab agencies. Also Hadley.edu has a wonderful series of video tutorials for iPhone, some are linked to the articles we’ve published.    

iPhone Accessibility Articles on OE


ADJUSTING


I was informed, at my last eye exam, that I am now legally blind from macular degeneration. The doctor told me to stop driving (which I did long ago) and gave no other advice. What do you suggest I do now?

Speak with your physician again and ask for referral to a low vision specialist and vision rehabilitation services. Be aware there is much you can do, on your own, to live better with vision loss. Read: OE Agrees with AAO Advice, and listen to the OE Patients Podcast, Episode 4: Must Know Info for Adjusting to Low Vision.


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


The ophthalmologist has referred me to a retinal specialist; however, I’m afraid of following through during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to lack of social distancing available as well as long delays in the waiting room. What is advised?

Give the retina doctor's office a call. Communicate your concerns and ask how they are dealing with social distancing in waiting rooms, spacing of patient appointments, mask wearing for staff and patient, cleaning of hands, equipment, etc. With appropriate changes in place, physicians offices can well minimize risk and elevate patient’s safety and comfort.

Recently I had a cataract operation on my second eye. For two weeks I’ve been unable to read without glasses, but vision is improving. How can I protect my eyes and keep them healthy?

Thanks for getting in touch. To protect your eyes, here are 5 Sight-Saving Habits To Start Today.

I am a 51 year old female diagnosed with early stage dry macular degeneration. I am concerned about visual deterioration over time as it is incurable and progressive. I am afraid and in search of something I can do to help minimize the loss of sight.

A diagnosis involving progressive vision loss is frightening, but we know people with dry macular degeneration generally can do well and adjust to the very slow progression over time. The result is impaired central vision, not blindness, and you can do your best to slow that progression by protecting your eyes from the sun and eating a healthy diet rich in whole fruits, especially citrus, leafy greens, and omega 3. Making small changes along the way will keep you doing all you need to do and love to do. Technology today accommodates every level of visual impairment. More detail about living with macular degeneration in these articles on OE.

And on the OE Patients Podcast.


TECH


I recently switched to an iPhone for the low vision accessibility and am very happy I did. I’m getting accustomed to it, but find I tend to quickly forget the steps involved in using features new to me. How can I do this with more success?

It is very common to forget steps you’ve taken just once or twice. Committing a process to memory, or memorizing the steps, takes repetition, 10 or 20 times. That is why the things we do every day become embedded in our muscle memory. If you don’t know, or have forgotten, no worries, just phone and get help from Apple’s Accessibility Support at 877-204-3930, they’re available 24/7.  Here are more tips for Learning at Any Age with Vision Loss.

I’m in the market for a new laptop or iPad, which do you recommend for best accessibility?

iPad Pro 12.9” has the versatility of both, with use of keyboard (or not) and all built-in Apple Accessibility features included. Can navigate with mouse, trackpad and touch.

I need a new iPhone but am not feeling good about upgrading to a model with no home button.

Many people had this concern, but it turned out to be a relatively easy transition. Just a few new screen swipes that will become natural in the first few hours. Adjusting to iPhone X & 11

Can you offer any tips to increase accuracy in Speech to Text or Dictation, as I often find that the text that is transcribed is very different from what I said.

Enunciate clearly. Speak punctuation, symbols, new lines, etc. Always best with minimal ambient noice. Dictate one sentence at a time for easier correction of error. Practice definitely improves ability. More on OE: Are You A Dictator?

Hello, I want to find a mobile phone with the most up-to-date technology for vision loss. Does anyone have any suggestions? Also, are there any seminars to help those with vision loss to use smartphones? Thanks!

The iPhone has the best accessibility features for vision and is by far the most popular mobile phone used by people with vision loss. Linked below are some of our articles on the subject. The are regular workshops at Apple Stores and other options depending on where you are.  Check local libraries, senior centers and vision rehab agencies. Also Hadley.edu has a wonderful series of video tutorials for iPhone, some are linked to the articles we’ve published.    

iPhone Accessibility Articles on OE


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