Use these tools and tips to help you overcome diabetic macular edema low vision at home and at work.
Blurred vision, visual Distortion and blind spots are common symptoms of diabetic macular edema or DME. “Diabetic macular edema affects central vision and results in decreased vision in patients, which affects their driving, ability to read and their ability to function in their daily lives,” says Diana V. Do, MD, specialist of Retina and Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice President of Clinical Affairs at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California.
The good news: If you’re struggling with DME, there are plenty of aids that can help you keep up with your daily activities at home and at work. Take a look at these pro-recommended tips to make your life with DME easier.
First, consider low vision services
Ultimately, the goal of treating DME is to improve your vision enough that you don’t even need low vision tools. But if you need a visual aid, your ophthalmologist can refer you to a low vision center, as Dr. Do does with his patients who need visual adjustment and adaptation. It can help improve your quality of life now, says Christina Hedlich, an occupational therapist specializing in low vision rehabilitation and clinical director at the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a branch of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, at Grand Rapids. , MI.
Getting visual assistance earlier can help in other ways as well. âWe find that people cope better with vision loss if we catch it early on. Even if they don’t need a lot of adjustment at this point, it at least begins the process of accepting “vision loss, Hedlich says, which can be difficult.
Illuminate your lighting
Adding lights is essential to help with DME. You don’t need to add a ton of new lights to your home, just place the lights strategically, Hedlich says. For example, place a light source near where you perform delicate tasks, like cutting food or testing your blood sugar. Light strips (which can be found inexpensively online) can be added under cabinets, whether in your kitchen or cabin, to help illuminate these areas. You can even use it along hallway baseboards instead of night lights in areas of your home that can be dark at night and hard to see.
Another tip: do you know how to buy bulbs that emit blue, pink or white light? When you have DME, this coloring can make a difference as it can help you see the contrasts between different colors (a common problem with DME). Low vision specialists can help you figure out which lighting color is best for your visual needs, as coloring is very subjective, Hedlich explains.
Connect to smart home devices
Your base Siri, Google Nest, and Alexa are good places to start, but with today’s technology you can go even further with blood glucose meters, thermometers, and blood pressure cuffs that âtalkâ (like the Prodigy Autocode Talking Glucometer, NuvoMed Talking Digital Thermometer, and Advocate Talking Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor).
Smart devices can do so much for us now, including reading books and other materials aloud, making phone calls, keeping lists, listening to music, setting timers, controlling home thermostats. and turning lights on and off, all useful in both home and office. âThese can really bridge the gap so that someone doesn’t have to rely on their vision, which could fluctuate with the EMR,â Hedlich points out.
Take things tactile
Bump dots – small, raised plastic dots resembling stickers that you can buy online or find at visually impaired rehabilitation centers – can mark the controls of your stove, oven, microwave, and small appliances. of your home, to help you use them safely, Hedlich says.
They can also help you in the office, such as marking certain buttons on your computer or keyboard. Additionally, larger keyboards with bolder, bigger letters can be helpful in seeing what you’re typing.
Magnifying glasses can be useful in many ways, from reading text to viewing details, says Hedlich. There are many options, including handheld magnifiers with lights; telescopes that you can hold, place around your neck or on your head; and electronic magnification tools that can fit on a computer screen or slide in front of your cell phone to make screens appear larger.
While you may not need a cane, if your vision loss with EMR is advanced, Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training is a useful tool that could teach you how to move around. in your safe environment, says Hedlich. Additionally, sighted guides training can teach you and a loved one how to work together to help them guide you, or help you be self-sufficient in using, for example, your local transportation system. if you can no longer drive.
Enlist your team
Ask the person you live with not to suddenly change your surroundings, recommends Hedlich. For example, ask members of your household not to leave cabinet doors open (which you may not see and enter into), to move furniture without telling you (because you might getting into a sofa or chair without realizing it) or moving your favorite things (like not rearranging food in kitchen cabinets without showing you where things are or moving your meds without consulting you because you may not be able to find things when you need them most).