Guest Author: Loretta Bluebosh
February is Macular Degeneration month. So, I thought I’d share some things I learned along my journey that may help some of you live a more productive life!
I’ve had Dry Macular Degeneration since 2008. And with the help of my Low Vision Specialist, The FL Dept. of Blind Services, and some digging on my part, I’ve come up with 5 tools that will make living with AMD a little easier!
It has been proven that certain ingredients help promote good eye health. Some of them are: Lycopene, Lutein, Trans-Zeaxanthin, Meso-Zeaxanthin, Astaxanthin, Mixed Carotenes, and Vitamin E. Clinical studies have shown that taking the AREDS formula, which contains those ingredients, will help slow down the degeneration of your Macula. I started taking them as soon as I was diagnosed and have experienced very little deterioration. (Of course, we all are affected by AMD differently.) But it can’t hurt. You can find these eye vitamins at your local drug store or online.
It has been scientifically proven that dangerous blue light strains your eyes and is harmful to your Macula. The solution is to use a lighting source that is blue-light safe. I use the Dr. Lite Clarity Magnifier Lamp. In addition to blocking out harmful blue light, the lamp's clear magnifying lens enlarges up to 175% to support detailed work while providing additional visual aid. Now I'm able to work at home using my computer and read comfortably. Since I started using my Dr. Lite lamp, I have not experienced any eye strain or tired eyes!
If I could not use my computer, I would not be able to work out of my home and supplement my Disability. And in order to see what’s on my screen, I use a software program called, ZoomText. ZoomText not only enlarges what is on your screen, but you can also customize the settings so your screen is adaptable to your visual needs in order to use a computer. There is also an option to add a ‘Reader’ so words can be read to you!
Yes, I am one of those people who have to look at the keyboard when typing. But the small letters on the keys make it nearly impossible to see. But don’t waste your money on buying a large-letter keyboard. Instead, buy a sheet of stick-on large letters that you stick on top of the keys on your keyboard. You can get them with white letters on black, black letters on white, black letters on yellow and so on. I got mine at Amazon for less than $5. When you do a Google search, search for this: Large stick-on letters for keyboards.
Big Font App
Everyone sends text messages and uses Messenger on Facebook. And, due to my poor vision, I have to use a magnifying glass to read them and it puts a strain on my eyes. Yes, there are numerous apps that will enlarge the fonts on your phone, but I found them to be not really ‘user-friendly’. Until now. I stumbled on to this one and it is very easy to use and it's free. (If you want to upgrade to eliminate the ads, it’s only a one-time charge of a couple of dollars.) What is it called? Big Font in the Google Play Store. It’s easy to install, easy to use, and easy to change the size of your fonts. Right now, I have the size of my fonts set at 175% and it's very easy to text back and forth with my friends without straining my eyes.
Well, there you have it! I hope this is helpful to all of you who also suffer from Macular Degeneration or low vision. Let us know if you try any of these tools!