February is Low Vision Awareness Month. Low vision effects millions of Americans, so each year we take time to bring awareness to low vision and tools that can help.
Individuals living with the challenges of low vision understand the importance of modifying their home environments and routines throughout the day. Obviously, primary goals here are streamlining and simplifying things for greater accessibility, safety, and convenience. For many people who have low vision, learning new ways of doing things around the house is a key part of that. In many cases, the most successful individual outcomes happen with the support of occupational therapy.
According to the National Eye Institute, a low vision diagnosis makes it difficult to complete or conduct everyday activities like driving, reading, recognizing faces, or viewing a computer screen clearly. By definition, low vision cannot be fixed with glasses, contact lenses, or other standard treatments such as medications or surgery. Primary causes of low vision include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetes.
While corrective measures like glasses may not work for people with low vision, some visual aids can provide excellent support when used throughout the house in certain ways. Time Timer is a preferred tool for many occupational therapy professionals, including those working with clients who have low vision, ADHD, autism, or other learning differences. For those with low vision, Time Timer tools include a wide range of visual time-keeping products that may prove helpful to some individuals living with low vision, particularly around the house.
To help with this, Time Timer “shows” time segments clearly with its high-contrast, easy-to-read face and a red disk that “disappears” as a set amount of time elapses. The Time Timer Original 12-inch provides a large, highly visible way to gauge how much time is left for an allotted task, or even dinner in the oven! For some people with certain levels and types of low vision, Time Timer’s high-contrast red dial remains readily visible in helping keep up with the day.
As outlined in this helpful tip sheet from The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), there are so many other ways occupational therapy practitioners help people with low vision live a safe and fulfilling life at home. The following are some of the ways in which occupational therapy practitioners help people with low vision to function at their highest possible level.
Preventing Accidents and Injury: Recommending effective lighting for a particular area and activity, pointing out potential hazards and offering solutions, and showing ways to do something in different ways for enhanced safety.
Teaching New Skills: Techniques such as eccentric viewing, visual tracking, and visual scanning can help people learn to use their remaining vision more efficiently and effectively.
Modifying the Task or Environment: Individualized changes can improve function, including recommending adapted equipment tailored to the person’s needs. Providing training in low-vision tools such as magnifiers are also helpful for many with low vision.
Promoting a Healthy and Satisfying Lifestyle: Taking a holistic approach helps ensure clients can participate in the things they want and need to do, from basic activities of daily living to recreational and leisure activities.
Proven through years of experience and clinical research, the Time Timer can help people of all ages and abilities "see" time segments in a high-contrast, straight-forward way. As you embrace a fulfilling life on your terms, Time Timer® can be your – and your occupational therapist’s – partner. Check out everything Time Timer has to offer you, your family, or students – and go forward safely and with happiness in 2021!