How to Live with Macular Degeneration | Aging in Place Solutions

How to Live with Macular Degeneration | Aging in Place Solutions

What is macular degeneration and how do you accommodate for it?

Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the central part of the retina, called the macula, which is responsible for sharp, central vision. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is the more common form and is characterized by the accumulation of waste products in the macula, leading to vision loss. Wet macular degeneration, on the other hand, is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina, which can leak and cause vision loss.

One of the ways that individuals with macular degeneration can compensate for vision loss is by using eccentric viewing, which involves looking at an object off to the side of the center of the visual field rather than directly at it. This can allow individuals with macular degeneration to use their remaining peripheral vision to use their remaining vision more functionally.

Working with an occupational therapist can be helpful for individuals with macular degeneration as they can provide guidance on how to use eccentric viewing effectively and suggest adaptive equipment and strategies to improve daily function.

There are also various magnifiers and adaptive equipment that can be helpful for individuals with macular degeneration. These may include:

  • Handheld or stand magnifiers: These magnifiers can be used to magnify text or other small objects.
  • Electronic or digital magnifiers: These devices use a camera to magnify text or objects and display them on a screen, making them easier to see.
  • Large print materials: Books, calendars, phones and other materials with larger print can be easier for individuals with macular degeneration to read.
  • Adaptive computer equipment: There are various software programs and hardware devices that can make it easier for individuals with macular degeneration to use a computer, such as screen readers and magnifiers.

It is important for individuals with macular degeneration to work with an occupational therapist and to explore the various magnifiers and adaptive equipment options available to find what works best for their needs.

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Dr. Brandy Archie, OTR/L, CLIPP

Dr. Archie received her doctorate in occupational therapy from Creighton University. She is certified in both Living in Place and Low Vision Therapy.  Dr. Archie has over 15 years of experience in home health and elder focused practice settings which led her to start AskSAMIE, a curated marketplace to make aging in place possible for anyone, anywhere! Answer some questions about the problems the person is having and then a personalized cart of adaptive equipment and resources is provided.

She's a wife, mother of 3 and a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs fan! Connect with her on Linked In or by email anytime.

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