Guide for Family Members of those Coping with Low Vision

The following article discusses different ways that family members of people with low vision can assist their loved one, both in terms of the physical challenges as well as the emotional aspects of living with low vision impairment.

How To Support Family Members With Low Vision

As a medical diagnosis, low vision refers to visual deficiency that cannot be corrected through surgery or with standard interventions. Such vision loss often occurs secondary to other medical conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, inoperable cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa, and many other disorders. 

This visual impairment affects a person's ability to continue with their daily routine and activities. Additionally, the immense psychological stress of going from a condition of being fully functional to one where a person is reliant on loved ones, can take a tremendous toll on a person’s emotional well-being. In addition to the technical difficulties of coping with visual impairment, the emotional impact can be just as challenging. 

Left unaddressed, vision loss may cause feelings of helplessness and a loss of confidence, as people struggle with everyday tasks. Studies have shown that the “stages” for coming to grips with low vision sometimes mirror those of other types of grief. It is important that all parties have tools for coping with the emotional aspects of this condition. 

And it isn't only the one with the diagnosis who struggles. Family and friends struggle as they watch a beloved caregiver, mentor, sibling or friend, cope with challenges of visual deficiency. The age of the individual presents its own challenges. Assisting a young child differs from helping an older person. 

It is a normal reaction for people with low vision to feel emotionally down about their diagnosis. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way!

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Learning To Cope: Tools for Providing Emotional and Physical Support

There are so many options today to drastically improve the lives of people with low vision, and to enable them to resume their favorite activities and normal daily routines. This includes proper usage of vision aids and devices such as advanced optics, magnifiers, telescopes, digital aids, as well as a rehabilitation therapy program for learning to maximize skills and dealing with emotional challenges.

With the proper support system, both in terms of using appropriate visual aids, and even more importantly by receiving the  necessary emotional support; people with low vision are thriving and enjoying fulfilling lives. The importance of having a strong family network for emotional support cannot be overstated.

Emotional Support

Perhaps the most important thing to emphasize to a family member with low vision is to reassure them that you are there for them, and that you are willing to assist them. Vision loss can be frightening and many people are good at masking fear. Let them know that they can confide in you. People with low vision are at risk for developing clinical depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health disorders. Psychological therapy and counseling provide effective coping tools for people learning to adapt to visual deficiency. 

A good vision rehabilitation program addresses all aspects of low vision, including the critical issues of emotional well-being. A low vision optometrist not only can help the patient understand how to cope, but also give them new hope for regaining their independence.

 

Physical Support

Family members should be willing to assist with visual aid interventions, therapies, or other means of support. This may mean helping family members with various devices or driving them to their rehabilitation specialist. By taking steps to improve the physical and emotional welfare of a person with low vision, you will be assisting their everyday living.It is important that loved one’s accompany them to their eye exams. 

Speak to our low vision optometrist about visiting a low vision occupational therapist who can help your loved one understand how to cope with the challenges of living with low vision. It is important to surround your loved one with a variety of resources and caring professionals who can help them understand that they can live a full and happy life after vision loss.

Common Questions

Stay informed of the latest research and expert information. There are many resources to provide education, information, and other services. Equally important is being sensitive to the family member and cultivating good communication skills. Subscribe to our youtube or email and as we are constantly adding new videos and articles that help people with low vision Additional tips to consider: Labeling objects and items Not moving things around in the house, which can confuse people with low vision Ensuring that there aren't objects on the floor or in the area that could impede their movement, or cause them to fall Ensuring that all areas of the house are properly lit throughout the day and night.
Guide for Family Members of those Coping with Low Vision
Dr. McBryar cartoon

Supporting Family Members

The emotional challenges for people with low vision and family members are often as great as the physical challenges of coping with the physical visual deficiencies themselves. Fortunately, there are many options today for attending to both of these challenges, which have enabled people with low vision to continue to enjoy their lives and participate in normal routines and their favorite activities. 

One of the most important factors is having a strong family support system. Along with utilizing visual aids and therapies, the support of family is as critical in helping a low vision patient lead a fulfilling life. If you would like to know more about how to provide emotional support for a family member, contact our low vision optometrist to Book an Appointment

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Testimonials


  • Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

    Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.


    Amanda T.

  • Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

    Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.


    Alexa H.

  • Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

    He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

    It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

    Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!


    Charlotte M.

  • Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

    Thank you!


    Olivia C.

  • Seems much less frustrated with life

    Reads non-stop and fast

    Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

    Seems much more confident

    Thank You!!!


    Kelly O.

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