Dealing with Severe Vision Loss from Glaucoma

How Can I Deal with My Vision Loss from Glaucoma?

  • Consider having a low vision exam. Doing so will help you learn how to use your existing vision to your best advantage. A magnifier or prism glasses may help expand your visual field, but only a low-vision specialist can determine what products and technology will work best with your vision.
  • Consider vision rehabilitation services to help you learn how to manage everyday tasks more easily. Preparing meals, performing personal self-care tasks, making home repairs, and enjoying leisure activities are easier with appropriate training in techniques that use your remaining vision and other senses combined with specialized products.
  • Work with an orientation and mobility specialist to learn to use a long white cane if you have problems detecting curbs, crossing the street, or finding your way in poor lighting or unfamiliar surroundings. Independent travel is possible with training and persistence.
  • Because glaucoma affects your peripheral (or side) vision, remember to scan your environment to ensure you are not missing things. The brain often fills in blind spots in the visual field, making it difficult to be aware of the extent of your vision loss.
  • It is important to identify the boundaries of your visual field loss and learn to locate objects in your environment more easily. One helpful technique is to place a contrasting-colored strip of tape or a sticker on the left and right side of each doorway or cupboard to help you find the edges.
  • Consistency and organization are helpful principles for many people with glaucoma and other types of vision loss. Leave things in the same place so you can find them again, and tell your family members to do the same.
  • If reading print is difficult for you, use a small digital recorder to keep track of your appointments and medications.
  • Talk to your family about what you are experiencing and how they can help you. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for managing your glaucoma and ensuring you adhere to your doctor’s advice and medical regimen. Ask questions and solicit help when you need it.

Managing Your Glaucoma Medications

It is extremely important that you adhere to your glaucoma medication regimen. Here are some tips to make it easier for you:

  • Keep your glaucoma medications in the same place at all times so that you can find them easily.
  • Use a medication organizer with an alarm or similar device to keep track of the times you need to use your medications.
  • Write a sticky note reminder in large print with a wide-tip marker and put it on your bathroom mirror.
  • If your hands shake and make it difficult to administer your eye drops, many adaptive devices can help you.

More Information

  • For additional tips, adaptations, and assistive devices to help you take your glaucoma medications, see Tips for Taking Glaucoma (and Other) Eye Drops by Ira Marc Price, O.D.
  • You can find more information about managing a variety of medications after vision loss at Medication Management.
  • For more detailed and patient-centered information about glaucoma detection, treatment, and everyday management, see VisionAware’s Patient’s Guide to Living with Glaucoma.
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