Adapting to Vision Loss Roadmap
Have you recently had an accident that caused blindness, or been diagnosed with macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, or another eye condition that has caused or might cause vision loss?
You’re not alone.
Over 100,000 Coloradans have some form of vision loss. That being said, everyone’s journey into vision loss is unique, and it’s not an easy road to adapt to this new world. But, with tools, support and resources, vision loss is not a death sentence and you can still live a fulfilling and independent life. We are here to help guide you on your first steps to adapting to loss of vision.
Step 1: Learn about your diagnosis
Don’t “doom scroll” on WebMD! Make an appointment with your own eye care professional to learn about your condition.
Here are some great additional resources to understand your condition:
Step 2: Gear up with adaptive tools
Take a moment to make a list of the things you love to do. Do you like to read newspapers? Browse the internet? Watch TV? Cook? Go for walks? These tasks are still possible with adaptive tools.
If you are low-vision, magnification tools can help you read fine print or see small details of a project. Bright lights can also help increase light and contrast for easier reading.
On digital devices, such as smartphones or iPads, go into the accessibility settings to increase font size, brightness, contrast, and even turn on voiceover. There are also some wonderful apps designed just for blind and low-vision users.
There is also an abundance of adaptive daily living equipment, such as canes, talking clocks, large-print timers, tactile labels, talking scales, liquid level indicators, and so… SO much more.
Here’s our suggested places to start when it comes to adaptive technologies:
Step 3: Find support
Creating a support network is critical to adapting to vision loss, finding inspiration, and connecting with others who have similar experiences. There are plenty of groups, online and offline, that are open to anyone. Here are some great places to start:
Step 4: Talk To Your Employer
You may be concerned about how your vision loss may impact your job. The good news is, assistive technology makes it possible for blind professionals to continue the grind! Legally, your employer must provide reasonable accomodations to enable you to complete your duties.
There are many resources to help you deal with accessibility or employment issues related to disability:
Step 5: Register for independent living courses
There are a wide range of courses designed to help people live independently with vision loss. You can take classes on cooking, using a computer, getting around, skiing, and so much more.. Our favorite courses are from these organizations:
- Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired
- Ensight Skills Center
- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
- Perkins School for the Blind
- ForeSight Ski Guides
Step 6: Know your benefits
If you are legally blind, you may be eligible for disability benefits. such as income tax exemptions and Social Security.
Step 7: Seek Out Inspiration
It’s natural for a vision-loss related diagnosis to come with a plethora of emotions. Always remind yourself through this process that you are adapting to a new way of experiencing the world. There is example after example of people with vision loss that live incredible lives!
At AINC, we strive to offer connection. We connect people with voices that understand and heal, with tools that offer self-sufficiency, with news that informs and educates, with events that empower, and with stories that entertain.
Here are a few of our favorite inspirational podcast, which you can find on our website or on any major streaming platform.
- Aftersight is a weekly podcast about print disability and the life of possibilities that follows. Your host, Penn Street began her journey into vision loss at the age of nine. Each week she is joined by a guest to talk about how print disability has impacted them – or how THEY have impacted the community. We’re always reminded that there is life after sight.
- Topic of the Month is a weekly podcast, we answer your questions on a variety of topics surrounding vision loss. We’re giving a voice to the challenges faced by people with blindness or vision loss. We’re here as a resource for you, your family, and your friends.
- Blindsight is a weekly podcast where we discuss the healing of the mind, body, and soul. Your host, Bill Lundgrin will address mental health topics including addiction, depression, anxiety, and grief. This podcast will also discuss processing trauma and building healthy relationships. We will be answering your questions through conversations with industry experts to help you in your journey to health and mental wellbeing.
For more tips and information on resources for the blind and visually impaired community, plus inspirational stories, be sure to visit www.aincolorado.org, bookmark our blog, check out our podcasts, and follow us on Facebook! Have questions? Please call us at 303-786-7777
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