Lighting is one of the most important and simple adjustments you can make to help maximise your vision. It can make an enormous difference to your ability to read, write and undertake fine work.
One of the key aspects of any low vision assessment is to check that the lighting you have in place is appropriate and correctly positioned. This is because some types of light will work better than others, depending on the eye disease.
Depending on your needs, there are many task and portable lamps available that can provide effective directional lighting. There are also lights with built-in magnifiers designed specifically for reading, writing and other tasks.
To make the most of lighting:
- Have your back to a window to reduce glare
- Use direct lighting from behind
- Use lighting on a flexible arm (gooseneck lamps) so that it can be positioned to suit the task
- A magnification lamp can provide extra lighting for close work or reading
- Ensure stairs, bathrooms, kitchens and other areas of activity are well lit
- Avoid looking into bright lights
Glare can be very difficult for people with low vision so it is important to control glare as much as possible. Options include UV shielding sunglasses, fit-overs or clip-ons for use outside. They are available in a variety of styles, colours, and a range of special lenses which can help reduce glare. Discuss concerns about glare and your needs with your eye health professional or a low vision agency.
To cut down glare:
- Wear a visor or hat when outdoors or under fluorescent lights
- Reduce glare from shiny surfaces by covering them with a cloth, and control glare on windows with blinds and curtains
- Place a chair safely at doorways to remind you to stop and pause and allow your eyes to adjust to the light
- Adjust your TV viewing. Position yourself or the TV to reduce glare, move closer to the TV and/or adjust your angle.
Good contrast is important for people with low vision.
You can easily create contrasts by placing or arranging very different things such as colours, shades, and textures next to each other in a way that highlights their differences.
To create contrasts at home:
- Use colours that maximise contrasts on surfaces in the workplace, as well as in kitchens and bathrooms
- When writing, enlarge text size and use a thick black felt pen on white non-glossy paper
- Affix contrasting paint or tape on the edges of work surfaces and shelves to make the edges easier to see
- Ensure crockery and utensils are in different, bright and contrasting colours
- Use white plates on plain contrasting coloured place mats
- Use different coloured chopping boards and utensils, e.g. chop light items such as onion on the dark board
- Use contrasting colours for cupboard handles
- Use light and power switches with contrasting coloured backing plates.