Tips for Living with Macular Degeneration

Living with macular degeneration requires a willingness to adapt and to try new ways of doing things. Bob Proctor the author of ABC's of Success shares that the three A's of aware, accept and adapt are keys to living life successfully in any area of our lives.

living with low vision

There are many adjustments to make in your every day living with macular degeneration. The most important is your attitude - you need to be willing to try to do things differently.

Some changes are easy - like using colored dinner plates that contrast with your placemat. Some are more difficult and may involve training from a low vision specialist.

Contrast is King

As your macular degeneration progresses it becomes more difficult to see or notice objects when there isn't as much contrast -

such as a black pen on a black granite counter top, but ...put that black pen on a white counter top it can be seen quite easily.

living with macular degeneration

Provide contrast to all areas of your home such as:

In the Kitchen:

√ Use a dark rimmed plate on a white tablecloth or placemat

living well with macular degeneration

Avoid plates and dishes that have lots of pattern.  Instead of using a clear glass for your water get a blue one like the one in the picture.

√ Select kitchen canisters that contrast with the color of your countertop

living with macular degeneration
√ Use bright and large number measuring cups and large number measuring spoons

√ Use potholders that are bright, solid colored and contrast with your counters

Drink coffee from a white mug

The contrast of the dark coffee with the white coffee cup makes it easier to pour and to see how much liquid is in the cup.

living with low vision

Drink milk from a dark glass

√ Use the dark side of a low vision black and white cutting board when preparing light colored foods like cauliflower, potatoes, onions and mushrooms.

Use a white cutting board when preparing dark leafy greens, green peppers, or zucchini 

living with low vision

Use Tactile Dots

Buy tactile bumps of different shapes, colors, and material to mark a variety of objects. These bumps are among the most useful things for everyday life.

raised dots

The tactile bumps adhere to most surfaces, and they make it possible to identify all sorts of things by touch - from the start button on your dishwasher to the 1 minute timer on your microwave.

Bathroom Tips

Use colored and not clear soap dispensers and toothbrush holders to easily see and access these frequently used bathroom items. 

living with low vision

Use bathroom towels and washcloths that are a solid color and contrast with your bathtub, sink and counter.

living with macular degeneration

Rest of the House

√ Use dark colored face plates on your electrical switches and outlets if you have light colored walls

√ Put dark colored decals on your sliding glass doors

Use white on black stickers to label your computer keys

√ Paint the edges of your outdoor steps in white or place Yellow Reflective Tape on stairs.
macular degeneration symptoms include loss of depth perception

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 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 ways to adapt to glare. You can:

living with low vision

Choose incandescent lights over fluorescent lights

√ Change your position in relationship to your light source

Use venetian blinds or sheer curtains to allow as much sunlight in and yet can accommodate the glare

√ Put down rugs (secure them) to reduce glare from polished hardwood floors

Wear light yellow NOIR sunglasses to cut glare indoors and outdoors

√ Choose furniture with a flat or matt finish

Develop your pictures with a matt finish rather than a glossy finish

General Lighting and Task Lighting

Living with macular degeneration will involve more lights and brighter lights as your macular degeneration progresses. 

living with low vision

Place more lamps in a room for general lighting and use an adjustable swing arm or gooseneck lamp for tasks like writing bills or reading your mail.

Keep small LED penlights or flashlights handy for a quick read or to see the settings on your washing machine or microwave.

Learn how the right lighting can make your world a little bit brighter :)

Tips from a Low Vision Specialist

Terri Cyr, OD, has authored a book that provides lots of tips and helpful suggestions on how to adjust to loss of vision and how to adapt in ways that allows one's vision to be more useful.

The author covers topics such as magnifiers and visual aids to electronic technology and binocular telescopes. 

Insight into Low Vision

Use Pre-Packaged Products

No need to measure and mess up with spills when you use pre-packaged products like these laundry packets. 

macular degeneration aids for laundry

Simply toss one packet into the washing machine and use tactile bumps on the dials to help you set the machine to the right wash and dry cycle. 

living with low vision

No need to overfill your dishwasher when you use dishwasher packets. 

Tips for Eating Out

"The key to exploring unfamiliar table settings is to go low and slow. This approach avoids knocking things over as we figure out what is where. Moving low means hovering our hands just above the table itself to explore. That way we'll come into contact with the base of a water glass, for instance instead of the rim."

living with low vision

Watch a short video on how to safely navigate a table when you are at a restaurant or at a friend's or family's home for dinner. 

What's On the Table

Tips for Living with Macular Degeneration by Patient, Peggy

Why not benefit from what someone else with macular degeneration has learned?

living with low vision
Peggy Wolfe, the author of Vision Loss: Strategies for Living with Hope and Independence share with WebRN Macular Degeneration readers some of her best tips for maintaining independence and for coping with loss of central vision from macular degeneration.

Interview with author Peggy Wolfe

Go from Living with Macular Degeneration to Macular Degeneration Help

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√ Prevention of Macular Degeneration?

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√ Food Suggestions for a Macular Degeneration Diet?

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