"[We] help people to use the vision that they have left to remain as independent as possible in their home, workplace, community or school," said Tom. "We look at different low-vision products and how people might use or want to use different things and match them up, essentially." The program offers sight support to people of all ages and all levels of compromised vision. "Cleveland Sight Center has been around for going on 110 years," Tom went on, "and we have everything from preschool to the oldest individual I've worked with to date is 104."
Making Vision Support a Reality
"We also have a camp," Tom continued, "the oldest and largest in the country, I believe. … In-ground pools, indoor camping--it helps them build skills [like] communication, socialization. It encourages them to work together. It's intergenerational as well because there are a number of other people--not just kids or young people--it's every age just about."
Best Practices for Vision Challenges
If you want to do what you can to navigate the world with the vision you have left, Tom had some specific tips to share:
Make the Most of Light Sources: While the sun can be a challenge to sight when you are facing it directly, you can turn your face away from it and allow it to shine on your reading material to help you read. The same is true for overhead lighting sources; point them as much as possible directly at the task you are undertaking and you will see what you are doing more clearly. You don't want light shining in your eyes; it should be behind or above you to illuminate your tasks.
Bump Dots or Spotlight Paint: When people are beginning to lose their eyesight, often times something called a "bump dot"--a sticky adhesive dot--can be attached to certain things, such as a number on the microwave, a setting on the washing machine or a key that is used frequently. Spotlight paint is another such solution that will allow visual distinction even with advanced vision deterioration.
Use a Bold Pen: Writing with a gel pen or even a Sharpie marker can help make writings more readable.
Natural Daylight Lightbulbs: Bulbs calibrated to produce light equivalent to natural daylight support vision indoors.
Go for High Contrast: A great example of this is, when cooking, if you're cutting a tomato, you would want to use a white cutting board, not a dark-colored board. On the other hand, if you're cutting onions, you would want to use a dark cutting board. The Cleveland Sight Center sells a white/black cutting board that you can turn over to use the side you need to see your task best.
Protect Your Eyes: Twenty or thirty years ago, you'd see everyone over 70 wearing these huge, bulky black frames over their glasses. These days, there are plenty of more palatable options for people to choose from to protect their eyes from bright sunlight.
This interview series is sponsored by Eldercare Professionals of Ohio, where we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand in hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help, contacts us at www.EldercareOfOhio.com, for questions on how to make your home a home for life, visit us at www.CallDontFall.com or call me (Brian Pritchard) at 216-212-7531.
To listen to the full audio conversation between Tom and I, please click on the player below...