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12 Tips for Caregivers of People with Low Vision

12 Tips for Caregivers of People with Low Vision

Millions of people in the United States today are living with “low vision,” defined as a visual impairment not treatable with glasses, contacts, medicine, or surgery. 

For most of us, the use of all five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) is how we connect and navigate the world. What we do to prevent and protect our vision can help us feel confident and independent. Living with low vision presents new challenges, but with the right tools and resources, it is possible to move forward with a good quality of life.   

January is also National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a serious, slow-progressing condition prevalent generally among aging adults. With awareness about this serious condition firmly in mind, we’d like to share a few words of encouragement, tips, and guidelines to help caregivers and their loved ones with low vision to navigate a low vision diagnosis.

Caregivers Are Part of the Team

Many caregivers are helping their friends and family cope with changes brought on by vision loss, including challenging emotions like anger, sadness, and anxiety. While we always aspire to bring our loved ones relief from these feelings, it’s important to recognize that all vision issues are not easily corrected, and some cannot be cured.   

We are fortunate that today there are assistive devices, home modifications, training classes and therapies available so adults with either a sudden or slow vision change can continue their daily activities with confidence and independence. Implementing these adaptations will help maintain vital social connections to stem the risk of loneliness and depression. 

Caregivers are great partners of doctors and professional services in helping someone who is experiencing vision loss. Most importantly, they are critical in helping someone adapt to changes in their vision which do not diminish their independence. 

12 Helpful Tips For Caregivers of People with Low or Lessening Vision

We are inspired by this article from the patient advocacy organization Living Well with Low Vision, which identifies actions to help caregivers support someone who is experiencing low vision or other challenges unique to those with decreasing vision. Caregivers build confidence and encourage independence that is safe, comfortable, and accessible, regardless of visual abilities. 

1. Find professional help

The National Eye Institute has a list of government and private vision rehabilitation service providers organized by category or state. 

2. Make changes for navigating space at home

Eliminate hazards that increase the risk of falling.  Smart home devices are available; review Smart Homes for Low Vision. 

3. Aid in navigating spaces outside the home

When guiding them to a seat, allow them to touch the chair or bench first, then seat themselves.

4. Visualize with them

Help the recipient see with his or her ears by describing locations, people, and objects. 

5. Walk with or guide with care

When guiding, allow the recipient to maintain contact by grasping your arm. On the stairs, remain one step ahead when going up or down 

6. Use color contrast

Contrasting colors, such as black/white, black/yellow, or blue/ yellow help people differentiate between items, stairs, ledges, or spaces. Place light-colored objects against darker backgrounds. 

7. Support safe, easy cooking

The Perkins School for the Blind offers these recommendations to organize kitchen spaces for creating a safe cooking environment. Installing task lighting in the kitchen space, for instance under cabinets and above the stove, will aid in cooking and preparing meals. 

8. Set up plates for confident dining

Use the “clock face” method to help a recipient locate their food on a plate. For example: “Vegetables are at the 12 o’clock position, meat is at three o'clock, bread is at six o’clock, etc. 


The American Academy of Ophthalmology’s article on “30 Apps, Devices, and Technologies for People with Vision Impairments” is a helpful resource to leverage technology for empowering those with low vision.  


Include the recipient in social events and encourage participation in a support group. 


Write in clear print, not cursive, using a dark, thicker point pen or marker on a light background. Provide magnifying devices and keep them within easy reach. 


All CAPS isn’t necessary but recommended at 16 points minimum. Use easy-to-read fonts like Verdana or Arial. Screens in dark mode with light text can help with glare issues. 

Pay attention to mental health changes

For some, vision loss may lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and loss of confidence. While not everyone who experiences vision loss is also subject to mental health changes, it is not uncommon for them to present a reduced desire for socializing or traveling outside known environments. Frustration around additional time required to accomplish daily tasks or goals must be recognized. Empathy and compassion are key to helping someone facing a decline in vision.  

T.A.S.K. force is a helpful caregiver framework  

T.A.S.K. stands for the four elements of successful living with low vision. 

  • Tenacity: The determination to explore new directions. The care recipient’s quality of life can be maintained if the caregiver is persistent in searching for the tools and resources needed to overcome obstacles. 
  • Adaptability: A willingness to change ways of doing things. People usually have no choice when it comes to losing vision, but there are ample choices.
  • Support: From which comes “cope-ability.” Caregivers, family members, friends, and organizations can provide the understanding and assistance needed to cope with low vision. 
  • Knowledge: The most effective defense against the onslaught of vision loss. Knowledge puts a face on the enemy and a powerful weapon in our hands. 

By following the T.A.S.K. Force framework, you can help your loved one with low vision maintain their independence and quality of life.   




These resources, tips, and tools are presented for your information only and are not intended to replace a low-vision therapist or doctor’s directions. These are solutions, resources, or devices representative of what is available. As with all caregiving situations and circumstances, we encourage you to speak with professionals on your low vision team, including your ophthalmologist, to help identify solutions, recommendations, apps, and technologies that might best address your needs.