Posted by: Carolinas Center for Sight in Macular Degeneration

Many people who have vision loss due to macular degeneration often spend their energy seeking the latest treatment and/or clinical trial to treat their retinal condition and to enhance their vision. While these endeavors are noble and can be helpful, it is also important to realize that there is another avenue to maximize one’s usable vision.

This other strategy is very simple, doesn’t cost much and is quite effective. It’s using color and contrast in ways that will make onbjects “pop” and become visible rather than fade away. It isn’t unusual for someone with low vision issues to knock over a drinking glass. If the glass is clear, the glass or clear plastic and filled with clear water, the glass will be invisible to someone with macular degneration. By simply replacing the clear glass with a dark blue glass, you would be able to see it on a white table or placemat.

There are many adjustments to make in every day living if you have macular degeneration. The most important thing is your attitude – you will need to be willing to try to do things differently. some changes are easy – like using colored dinner plates that contrast with your table and placemats.

Contrast is King

As macular degeneration progresses, it becomes more difficult to see or notice objects when there isn’t much contrast such as a black pen on a black granite counter top. However, put that black pen on a white countertop and it can be seen quite easily. The most helpful thing you can do is provide contrast to all areas of your home.

Kitchen Tips

Use white plates on a dark table of placemat. You can also do the reverse – use dark colored plates on a light or whit placemat. Avoid plates and dishes that have lots of pattern. Select kitchen canisters that contrast with the color of your countertops. Use potholders that are bright, solid colors and contrast with your counters. Use bright and large number measuring spoons. Drink coffee from a white mug. The contrast of the dark coffee with the white cup makes it easier to pour and to see how much liquid is in the cup. Drink milk from a dark glass. Use the dark side of a low vision cutting board when preparing light colored foods like cauliflower, potatoes and onions. Use the white cutting board side when preparing dark leafy greens, green pepper, or zucchini.

Rest of the Home

If you have light colored walls, use dark colored face plates on your electrical switches and outlets. Paint the edges of your outdoor steps white and place yellow warning safety tape on stairs. Use bathroom towels and washcloths that are a solid color and contrast with your bathtub, sink and counters. Talking watches, large print books, bold numbered measuring cups and large print keyboards are just a few of the low vision aids available for those with macular degeneration.

Reduce the Glare

Glare can interfere with your vision and it can come from a bright room filled with sunshine to just trying to see a shiny deck of cards. There are many ways to adapt to glare. You can:

  • Choose incandescent light over fluorescent lights.
  • Use Venetian blinds or sheer curtains to allow sunlight in and yet accommodate glare.
  • Put down contrast color rugs and secure them to reduce glare from polished harrow floors.
  • Wear light yellow NOIR sunglasses to cut glare indoors and outdoors.
  • Choose furniture with a flat or matte finish rather than a glossy finish.
  • Develop your pictures with a matte finish rather than a glossy finish.