Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
Macular degeneration doesn't affect your side (peripheral) vision and usually doesn't cause total blindness. But it can reduce or eliminate your central vision — which is important for driving, reading and recognizing people's faces. It may be beneficial for you to work with a low vision rehabilitation specialist, occupational therapist, your eye doctor and others trained in low vision rehabilitation who can help you find ways to adapt to your changing vision.
Ways to cope with your changing vision might include:
- Ask your eye doctor to check your eyeglasses. Optimize the vision you have by getting the most appropriate prescription lenses for your eye glasses.
Use magnifiers. A variety of magnifying devices can help you with reading and other close-up work, such as sewing. Magnifying devices may include traditional hand-held magnifying lenses or special magnifying lenses you wear just like glasses.
A closed-circuit television system that uses a video camera to magnify reading material and project it on a video screen also may be an option for you.
- Change your computer display and add audio systems. Adjust the font size in your computer's settings. Adjust your monitor to show more contrast. You may also add speech-output systems or other technologies to your computer.
- Use alternative options for books. To read, use large-print books, electronic readers, tablets or audio books. Some tablets and smartphones have applications that can be added to assist people with low vision, such as magnifying text.
- Select special appliances made for low vision. Some clocks, radios, telephones and other appliances have extra-large numbers. Other gadgets can speak the time or other important information. You may find it easier to watch a television with a larger high definition screen, or you may want to sit closer to the screen.
- Use brighter lights in your home. Brighter lights will help with reading and other daily activities in your home.
- Use caution when driving. First, check with your doctor to see if driving is still safe based on your current visual acuity. When you do drive, you may need to use extra caution in certain situations, such as driving at night, in heavy traffic or in bad weather.
- Consider other travel options. Use public transportation or ask family members to help, especially with night driving. Make arrangements to use local van or shuttle services, volunteer driving networks, or rideshares.
- Get support. Having macular degeneration can be difficult, and you may need to make many changes in your life. You may go through many emotions as you adjust to having macular degeneration. Consider talking to a counselor or joining a support group to help adjust to your condition and life changes. Spend time with your family and friends, who can offer you support.
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