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Coping with Low Vision? 5 Ways to Make Your Home Safer

Man with Low Vision on SofaIf you’ve been diagnosed with low vision, you may be worried about banging into the furniture or falling down the stairs. These simple modifications will help you stay safe at home, even with limited vision.

What is Low Vision?

Low Vision refers to significant visual impairment that can’t be fully corrected with conventional glasses, contact lenses, medication or eye surgery. The condition impacts nearly 250 million people worldwide, and 7% of all people over age 65. The most common symptoms of low vision are:

  • Blurred vision
  • Blind spots
  • Tunnel vision
  • Poor night vision

The condition is often the result of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Low vision can also result from congenital conditions, eye injuries and stroke.

Although vision loss can’t be reversed, adjustments in your home can help you remain active, independent and safe.

5 Ways Low Vision Patients Can Stay Safe at Home

Get [Organized]

It’s time to organize your home. Remove things you don’t need and anything that can impede your mobility around the house.

  • Get rid of loose area rugs
  • Make sure your carpet is completely fastened to the floor
  • Use zip ties and other fasteners to keep long cords out of the way
  • Confine small stools or tiny tables to areas where you don’t walk

Become a master [organizer]. Be sure to put kitchen utensils, tools and other items in separate drawers and containers. Organize clothing in your closet by color, coats from light to heavy and shoes by season.

Label Everything

Having a place for everything is key. Once you’ve decided where everything should be, the next step is labeling your belongings. Use large letters and dark ink against light-colored paper, or brightly colored labels to differentiate between items.

Go for Contrast

Using contrasting colors is an easy way to make items stand out. If your couch is dark, place light-colored pillows at each end so you can see where to sit. Place fluorescent strips on dark stairs or dark strips on light stairs so you can step safely.

Lighten Up

Lighting your home properly can make a huge difference in your ability to see things and live safely, especially in places like the kitchen. You can add more brightness by:

  • Installing lighting in closets and under cabinets
  • Choosing bulbs with higher wattage
  • Using lights during the day to reduce glare
  • Try different types of lighting to see what helps you maximize your vision

Use Low Vision Aids and Devices

Your Low Vision Optometrist may prescribe low vision glasses and devices to enable you to see better and by helping you maximize your remaining vision. These include:

  • Telescopes – hand-held, spectacle-mounted and clip-on
  • Magnifiers – hand-held and standing
  • Non-optical visual aids – devices that increase light and enhance contrast
  • Computer-based aids – use software and large screens
  • Mobile phone applications – allow easier communication

Discuss this with your eye doctor to see which types of visual aids are best for you. Many people with low vision use several types of visual aids for specific activities — for instance, magnifiers for reading and additional lighting for preparing food.

Make the most of the internet with voice search features. This is particularly helpful if you quickly need emergency numbers or need to locate other information.

Smart technology has revolutionized life for people with low vision. Voice-activated features let you turn lights on and off, open and close your garage doors and contact emergency services immediately.

Talk to Us for Assistance with Low Vision

Need answers for living safely and comfortably at home with low vision? We’ll advise you on how to maintain your independence and recommend the best visual aids for your individual lifestyle and needs. We’ll help you maximize your remaining vision so you can continue to do the things you love. Schedule an appointment with Dr. John Pino at Low Vision of Tennessee in Nashville today.

Our practice serves patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, and Georgia, Tennessee and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Pino


Q: What is the difference between low vision and legal blindness?

  • A: Legal blindness is a legal term that refers to corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye or a visual field of 20 degrees or less. A person with low vision is someone who has permanent vision loss and cannot do those tasks they wish to do.

Q: Who is at risk for low vision?

  • A: People with the highest risk for low vision are typically over 65 and have a family history of AMD. For some reason, AMD affects women more than me, and Caucasians/Asians more than African Americans. Similarly, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma also cause vision loss and tend to be more prevalent among African Americans.

Dating With Low Vision

elderly couple dating with low visionFor people with low vision, the logistics of dating can sometimes feel overwhelming. Your visual needs can change the dynamics of how the date goes, where you feel comfortable going, and what you feel comfortable doing. For many, it’s enough to give up on the idea altogether. But don’t throw up your hands in frustration just yet!

At Low Vision of Tennessee in Nashville, we want to assure you that with a little bit of planning, dating can be a great experience, even with low vision.

Here are some of our top tips on how to make it work:

1. Play an active role in setting up the date.

It’s not always easy figuring out where to go on a date. This is especially true when you have special visual considerations that factor into your options. Make sure to take an active role in choosing a place and activity you feel comfortable with.

If you’re going out to dinner, consider restaurants in your area that offer good lighting, menus in large print or braille, and which may have special experience and/or accommodations for people with vision difficulties.

If you and your date would like to enjoy a movie together, look for theaters that offer audio descriptions so that you can enjoy the movie too.

2. Pick a place you can reach by public transit or within walking distance.

It’s always best to choose a place you can get to on your own. This is especially important if you’re just meeting someone for the first time and you’re not sure how the date will go. Choosing a place that you can easily walk to or is serviced by public transportation will give you the freedom to leave when you want to.

3. Be prepared to have a conversation about your visual impairment – if you want to.

There are always conversations to be had when you’re meeting someone for the first time. The question is, when do you bring them up and how much do you say at first? Having a conversation about your visual impairment is no different.

Your low vision may have already influenced your choice of date spot and the activities you’ve planned, so don’t be surprised if your date asks questions.

Whether you want to discuss your low vision on a first date is entirely up to you. Do what feels comfortable.

4. Don’t forget about traditional places to meet people.

Your whole life shouldn’t be defined by your vision disability, and your dating life is no exception. If you enjoy reading, join a book club. Love to exercise? Join a gym or even a cycling club – tandem biking is fun. If you’re religious, attend services at your local church, synagogue, mosque. If you enjoy giving back to your community, find local opportunities to volunteer. These are great places to find like-minded people for friendship and, with a little luck, romance. Shared interests and values are a great way to build a meaningful relationship.

5. Be yourself.

In the end, the biggest advice anyone can give is the oldest in the book. Just be yourself!

Our practice serves patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, and Georgia, Tennessee and surrounding communities.


Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Pino

Q: What is low vision?

Low vision is defined as fully corrected vision (with glasses/contacts/surgery) that is still insufficient to do what you want to do.

There are many causes of low vision, including glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, stroke and eye injuries. Patients with these conditions need two eye doctors. The medical eye doctor treats the medical condition. Low vision optometrists prescribe low vision glasses and aids to help with the vision loss condition. Low vision aids, such as telescope and microscope glasses, E-Scoop glasses, prism glasses and magnifiers make the most of the remaining vision and help maintain independence and quality of life.

Q: What is a low vision exam?

A: A low vision exam evaluates your level of vision, as well as the tasks you wish to do and can no longer engage in due to your limited vision. The low vision exam goes above and beyond the usual comprehensive eye exam performed by your eye doctor and concentrates on your visual needs.

Your eye doctor will ask you questions about your family history, your eye health and your general health. You’ll also be asked if you have difficulty with vision for daily tasks such as driving, reading or pouring yourself a cup of coffee.

All of this information will allow your eye doctor to accurately assess your level of vision loss and how it is affecting your daily life. With this information, they will be able to advise you on the proper steps you can take, and low vision glasses and aids you can use to maintain your independence and make the most of your remaining vision.


    4 Signs You Have a Visual Contrast Sensitivity Problem

    elderly couple with low vision glasses sitting outside

    Contrast sensitivity allows you to tell the difference between the foreground and background. It’s a crucial aspect of your visual function, particularly in low-light situations.

    Common scenarios which require contract sensitivity include driving at night, in the rain or fog, or reading a newspaper, where the writing is printed on a gray background. The inability to distinguish objects clearly is not simply an inconvenience; it can lead to car accidents or falls that may cause injury.

    Reduced visual contrast sensitivity is often a symptom of a more serious eye condition, such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration. This is why it’s important—especially for those over 50—to undergo an annual eye exam. Your low vision eye doctor will measure how well you can tell the difference between light and dark by using a specific chart where the characters fade from black to gray gradually. If symptoms are present, your Low Vision of Tennessee low vision eye doctor will provide you with treatment options, such as visual aids and devices to help you improve contrast sensitivity.


    4 Signs of Visual Contrast Sensitivity Problems

    The onset of this condition is often gradual and people may not notice a change in vision as it progresses. The following are common signs of reduced visual contrast sensitivity:

    1. Reading Difficulties

    People with reduced visual contrast sensitivity may be able to read normally if the letters are dark and the background is light, or vice-versa. However, if the letters and the background are of a similar color or level of brightness or faintness, people with reduced visual contrast sensitivity may struggle to read the text.

    2. Problems Differentiating Between Objects

    As with reading, poor visual contrast sensitivity doesn’t affect the ability to see objects, except when these objects are the same or similar colors as their surroundings. For instance, it may be difficult to locate black gloves in a black purse or see a white bird flying in a cloudy sky.

    3. Tripping Over Curbs or Steps

    People with contrast sensitivity difficulties may start realizing they have a problem if they keep tripping over curbs or steps because they don’t see them clearly. Steps and curbs are often the same shade as the surrounding surface and may not be visible to people with this vision problem.

    4. Driving in Certain Conditions

    People with reduced visual contrast sensitivity may struggle to drive in certain conditions:

    • Low light
    • Rain
    • Glare
    • Fog

    Contrast sensitivity is essential for driving because it allows the driver to see road signs, pedestrians and road curves, and to distinguish between the road and the curb.

    Tests for Visual Contrast Sensitivity

    Even people with 20/20 vision can experience a noticeable decrease in their visual acuity if they are exposed to glare or if the letters on a chart are of a similar color to the background.

    The Pelli Robson test was designed specifically to determine if a patient has difficulties with contrast sensitivity. The test is similar to the Snellen test because it features horizontal lines of letters. However, in this test, instead of shrinking in size with each descending row, the letters show less contrast, appearing in ever weaker shades of gray against a white background.

    For instance, on the top row, the letters are black and the background is white. In subsequent rows, the letters are lighter gray until the contrast against the white background is very subtle on the bottom row.

    If you have difficulty distinguishing between objects and their backgrounds or seeing road signs and steps, schedule an eye exam with Dr. John Pino at Low Vision of Tennessee today.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Pino

    Q: What Causes Reduced Visual Contrast Sensitivity?

    • A: Difficulties with visual contrast sensitivity tend to be a symptom of another ocular problem. Here are some common causes of the condition:
      • Glaucoma
      • Macular degeneration
      • Severe dry eye syndrome
      • Cataracts
      • Diabetes
      • Optic neuropathies
      • Eye infections or trauma

    Q: How Can Visual Contrast Sensitivity Be Improved?

    • A: If the eye doctor identifies a problem with contrast sensitivity, the main form of treatment is to treat the underlying condition, which in most cases improves the contrast sensitivity as well. If the condition remains, the doctor can discuss treatment using specialized glasses that can enhance the quality and amount of light that enters the eye.
      • Tinted lenses filter out glare, and the yellow tint can help the patient see contrasts more clearly, especially at night
      • Anti-reflective coatings eliminate reflections from the surfaces of the eyeglasses and greatly reduce glare
      • Photochromic lenses gradually become darker as the surroundings become lighter, and vice-versa, and act as both regular glasses and sunglasses when needed
      • Polarized lenses reduce reflected glare, such as off water, snow and windshields.

      Intraocular lenses, which replace the eye’s natural lens during cataract surgery, can enhance contrast sensitivity and reduce some of the vision problems caused by cataracts.


    Our practice serves patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, and Georgia, Tennessee and surrounding communities.


    5 Reading Tips Following Retinal Detachment Surgery

    elderly woman reading with glassesRetinal detachment is a potentially sight-threatening condition that requires immediate attention. When the light-sensitive retina has slipped out of its position, surgery is required to reattach it. Recovery from surgery is lengthy and it may be weeks or months before vision is fully restored.

    Patients often wonder how soon they will be able to read following retinal detachment surgery. The answer will depend on the severity of the detachment and the outcome of the surgery. In some cases, additional surgery may be required.

    About Retinal Detachment Surgery

    There are three types of retinal detachment surgery:

    • Pneumatic retinopexy – injecting a gas bubble into the eye to push the retina back into place
    • Scleral buckling – placing a belt-like structure around the white of the eye
    • Vitrectomy – replacing the aqueous humor with silicone oil

    How Long Does It Take to Recover from Retinal Detachment Surgery?

    Every patient will recover from surgery at a different pace, but most patients can resume some of their regular activities between 2 and 4 weeks post-op. For some people, it can take several months.

    During this recovery period, it’s crucial to avoid doing things that require vigorous head movements. It will be a while before you will be able to:

    • Clean
    • Garden
    • Lift heavy objects
    • Engage in strenuous activities like a workout

    Reading Tips Following Retinal Surgery

    Vision in the affected eye or eyes is likely to be poor for weeks following surgery, making it difficult to read. Until the retina heals and holds its position, you may see bright spots or your vision could be blurry. However, reading or watching television won’t harm your eyes, and there is no reason not to try to read if you feel so inclined.

    The following are some tips for reading following retinal detachment surgery:

    1. Check Your Eyeglass Prescription

    When your eye surgeon feels your eye has recovered, they will recommend having an eye exam to determine whether your eyeglass prescription is still right for you. It is possible that surgery has altered your optical prescription, so having updated eyeglasses will help you see and read more clearly.

    2. Use Adequate Lighting

    The retina contains layers of nerves that are sensitive to light. You may need more light to see and read than you did before your retina detached. Add some extra lamps and use fluorescent and halogen bulbs that illuminate reading material more effectively than incandescent bulbs.

    3. Get Assistance from Screen Readers

    In the days and weeks following surgery, when you are not yet able to read from books or a computer, use a screen reader, which converts written text into auditory recordings.

    4. Find Large Print Books and Audiobooks

    Make reading easier by reading from books with large print, or bypass reading altogether by listening to audiobooks.

    5. Magnify Your Screen or Book

    A magnifying device will make letters in printed material larger and more accessible. Your low vision optometrist can recommend specific low vision glasses or devices that can enlarge text and graphics to the extent you require.

    Also, you may find it easier to read with the unaffected eye. Reading with only the good eye will not harm either eye, so do not be afraid to read that way until the reattachment heals.

    After surgery, patients want to resume their favorite activities, including reading, as quickly as possible. Your eye doctor will determine when your eyes and vision have recovered and you are ready to enjoy your daily activities based on your recovery from retinal detachment surgery. You will need some follow-up eye exams to ensure that your eyes are healing well and that your retina remains in position. To schedule an appointment, call us today.

    Our practice provides low vision management, aids and devices to patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, and Georgia, Tennessee and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Pino

    Q: What Are the Risk Factors for Retinal Detachment?

    A: The following are risk factors for retinal detachment:

    • – A previous case of retinal detachment
    • – Cataract surgery
    • – Eye injury
    • – Severe near-sightedness (myopia)
    • – Diabetic retinopathy
    • – Posterior vitreous detachment – the vitreous humor becomes separated from the retina
    • – Retinoschisis – the retina separates into two layers

    Q: How Does an Optometrist Test for Retinal Detachment?

    • A: If an eye doctor thinks you may have retinal detachment, your eyes will be dilated so the optometrist can see the retina and the back of your eye. Eye drops will be placed into the eye to make the pupils wider. The eye doctor may press on the eyelids to check for retinal tears. In addition to the dilated eye exam, the optometrist may check your eye with ultrasound or an optical coherence tomography (OCT) examination to confirm whether the retinas are detached.

    What’s the Difference Between Low Vision and Blindness?

    Elderly couple dancing

    Low vision doesn’t mean blindness. It simply means that a portion of your vision is impaired, and you can continue to enjoy a high degree of independence thanks to low vision tools and devices.

    What Is Low Vision?

    People often confuse the terms ‘visual impairment,’ ‘low vision,’ or ‘blindness’. Below we’ll untangle that and bring some clarity to each term:

    Visual impairment is a broad term that refers to any loss of vision. The following are some of the terms used to characterize different types of vision impairment:

    • Low vision is defined as fully corrected vision that is insufficient or interferes with your ability to do the things you want to be able to do. It has nothing to do with your visual acuity, field of view or other visual functions like dark adaptation or contrast sensitivity.
    • Legally blind refers to vision that is 20/200 or less in your better eye that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contacts, or a visual field of 20 degrees or less. Certain conditions, like glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration can cause one to be legally blind.
    • Total blindness is defined as the complete lack of form and light perception that often results due to a genetic condition, disease, or injury.
    • Partial vision refers to the capacity to see only a portion of your visual field, or to have good central vision but poor peripheral vision. A brain tumor, brain injury, or an eye condition are the most common causes.

    Does Low Vision Mean Blindness?

    No. Vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or surgery is known as low vision. However, because some vision remains, it is not considered to be blindness. A person with low vision may have blurred vision, blind spots or have poor night vision.

    Common Types of Low Vision

    Loss of central vision

    A blur or blind spot in the center of what you’re looking at occurs from a loss of central vision. This makes it difficult to read, recognize people and identify features at a distance. A person’s side (peripheral) vision is mostly unaffected by the loss of central vision.

    As long as the person has adequate side vision, mobility is still possible.

    Loss of peripheral (side) vision

    Peripheral vision loss leaves a person with remaining central vision, allowing them to see straight ahead, read, watch TV and recognize faces. This is referred to as tunnel vision and can be caused by glaucoma, a brain tumor or injury.

    Peripheral vision loss makes it difficult to differentiate objects on one or both sides, as well as items directly above and below eye level. Mobility is often hindered by a loss of peripheral vision.

    Blurred vision

    Blurred vision causes both near and far vision to be out of focus. When blurred vision is caused by refractive error, glasses, contact lenses and sometimes surgery can clear it up. However, certain conditions may cause blurred vision that cannot be corrected, such as macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic edema.

    Reduced contrast sensitivity

    People with poor contrast sensitivity struggle to distinguish an object from other objects having the same background color/shade. For example, a person wearing gray clothing would be difficult to see on a cloudy day. Similarly, finding a blue wallet in a blue purse can be difficult for those with reduced contrast sensitivity. Others may find driving difficult even if their “acuity” is good because visual acuity is measured on high contrast charts. The most common eye diseases that cause contrast sensitivity loss include macular degeneration and cataracts.

    Glare/light sensitivity

    There are two types of glare: discomfort glare and disability glare.

    Patients with discomfort glare tend to feel discomfort in the presence of sunlight, incandescent lights, fluorescent lights, and halogen lights, like those used in car headlights. Glare can emanate from many sources, such as reflection from water, fresh snow or white sand.

    Those with disability glare cannot function in these lighting conditions, posing a danger of being in harm’s way.

    Both types of glare can be helped by a Low Vision of Tennessee low vision eye doctor.

    Night blindness

    People with night blindness find it difficult to see outside at night or in dimly lit indoor settings.

    How Low Vision Devices Can Help

    People with low vision can often live and work independently thanks to a number of tools and devices that can greatly improve their quality of life.

    Our low vision optometrist prescribes all types of low vision glasses and devices, such as:

    • bioptic and full diameter telescope glasses
    • microscope glasses
    • prism glasses
    • and filters of all types
    • as well as a wide range of low vision aids ranging from hand-held magnifiers to electronic visual aids.

    Large-type books, magazines, and newspapers, as well as books on tape, talking wristwatches, self-threading needles and other products can also help those with low vision.

    Live your best life by contacting Low Vision of Tennessee to book a low vision evaluation and to determine the optimal low vision devices for your needs and lifestyle.


    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Pino

    Q: What is a low vision evaluation?

    • A: A low vision evaluation includes components that are not usually part of a standard eye exam. Your vision will be evaluated to assess the nature and level of vision loss and how it’s affecting your ability to do the things you want to do. The evaluation will help determine which types of low vision glasses and devices to prescribe for improved function, safety and independence.

    Q: What causes low vision?

    • A: Traumatic brain and eye injuries, as well as congenital conditions and issues of aging and uncorrected refractive errors, are all common causes of low vision. As you age, you’re more likely to develop various eye conditions, like cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes and age-related macular degeneration. When treated early, vision loss can be prevented or limited. However, left untreated, some of these conditions can eventually lead to severe vision loss or even total blindness.

    Low Vision of Tennessee provides low vision management, aids and devices to patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, and Georgia, Tennessee and surrounding communities.

    Reading Tips For Those With Low Vision

    Senior Woman Reading 640×350

    For people with low vision, reading can feel like running a marathon. Many stop reading altogether because what used to be enjoyable and effortless now requires effort and adjustment to using peripheral vision.

    Fortunately, there are many low vision devices that can make reading easier and more rewarding for people with glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and other low vision conditions.

    Below is a list of low vision magnifiers, aids, devices, and strategies that can help people with low vision read more easily and comfortably.

    Low Vision Devices for Reading

    Reading Magnifier

    The most commonly used visual aid for reading is a hand-held magnifier.

    Magnifiers with the appropriate power enable people with low vision to read the text of medicine bottles, food labels and oven dials, among other things. Magnifiers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, including compact pocket magnifiers, full-page illuminated magnifiers, and magnifiers with adjustable supports.

    Magnifiers are not well suited for continuous reading, like books or newspapers. They work well for spot reading, like labels, dials and medicine bottles. In general, the larger the magnifier, the less powerful it is. Also, the power markings on the magnifier are not standardized, so two magnifiers both marked “3x” are probably not the same.

    It is best to have your low vision optometrist recommend the right magnifier for your needs.

    Video Magnifier

    While traditional optical magnifiers are generally helpful, some people benefit more from a video magnifier.

    A video magnifier, also known as closed-circuit television (CCTV), is a device that uses a camera to send magnified images (up to 50x or greater) to a large desk monitor or television screen.

    Video magnifiers have many advantages over optical magnifiers in that they have variable magnification and can improve contrast. However, they are not as convenient as optical devices and are much more expensive.

    Portable Electronic Magnifiers

    A portable electronic magnifier resembles a tablet or iPad. When holding it in front of your reading material you can see the magnified version of the text on the device’s LED screen.

    High-Power Reading Glasses

    A person with significant visual impairment may be able to use strong magnifying reading glasses to view fine print. These eyeglasses magnify the print size to allow easier reading.

    Strong reading glasses or “microscope” glasses are more convenient for continuous reading, like newspapers and books.

    Microscope reading glasses require a closer reading distance which does take some adapting. However, they allow much greater comfort and speed when reading for enjoyment.

    Tele-Microscopic Glasses

    Tele-microscopic lenses are prescription lenses that are installed in a telescope-like device and placed on top of the glasses. They can be prescribed for one or both eyes and enable a person with low vision to read, write, use a computer, and accomplish other activities from a comfortable distance.

    Certain low vision devices are custom-made for a patient’s specific needs. A prescription from your eye doctor may be required.

    Tele-microscope glasses, or “reading telescopes” afford a much greater reading distance, which some find more comfortable. They are a bit heavier than microscope glasses but are much more versatile in their use.

    More strategies to help your reading

    Increase Contrast

    When reading, it’s best to have a sharp contrast between the text and its background. Newspapers, for example, don’t have much contrast because the grey characters are set against an off-white background.

    Many electronic screens allow users to adjust the contrast according to their preferences, such as black lettering on a yellow background or black lettering against a white background.

    Increase Lighting

    Increasing the amount of lighting and choosing the appropriate lighting for the setting can considerably improve reading ability and boost comfort. For example:

    Direct light – Using an adjustable gooseneck lamp that allows you to focus the light directly onto the reading material can be helpful. We recommend “gooseneck” with lower strength bulbs for better lighting and less heat.

    Sunlight – Sitting near a window to get natural sunlight while reading a book or other written text is ideal.

    Large-Print Books or Larger Fonts

    Large-print books include larger fonts, better contrast and more spacing, making it easier and more enjoyable to read.

    Adjust Settings on Your Smartphone

    Smartphones feature special settings for people with low vision. These features are wide-ranging and include the ability to select larger lettering to SMS messaging that the phone can read out loud.

    Coping with low vision isn’t simple. However, developing your own life hacks and methods can make reading easier. Take your time to find what works best for you. Eventually, you’ll find the best solutions for your specific needs.

    Contact Low Vision of Tennessee to find out which low vision aids and devices are right for you.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Pino

    Q: What is a low vision exam?

    • A: A low vision exam includes components that are not usually part of a standard eye exam. Dr. John Pino will analyze the nature of your vision loss after testing your visual acuity. This will aid the doctor in determining how low vision is affecting you and your ability to perform day-to-day activities. Dr. John Pino will then describe how certain low vision glasses and various low vision aides can help you regain as much daily function as possible.

    Q: Does low vision mean blindness?

    • A: No. Low vision is vision loss that can’t be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or surgery. However, it’s not considered blindness, as some sight remains. This allows a person to still use the sight available and benefit from various low vision devices.

    Low Vision of Tennessee serves patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, and Georgia, all throughout Tennessee.

    Five Adjustments To Make Around The House For People With Low Vision

    senior couple at home 640×350

    Home improvement can upgrade the look and feel of your living space. But for those with low vision, the right setup can be the difference between constantly relying on others and functioning independently.

    At Low Vision of Tennessee, we understand the importance of feeling self-sufficient and continuing to do the things you love after vision loss. To that end, we’ve shared a few tips to help you adapt your home and help you live a higher quality of life.

    1. Increase the Color Contrast

    Make sure you strategically place bright contrasting colors around the house to help identify and locate items. For example, keep your phone, keys or wallet in a bright tray or dish so they’re easy to find.

    Consider replacing cabinet and doorknobs with colors that stand out. For instance, choosing black knobs on white cabinets and doors will make it easier for you to find and grasp them. You can also add brightly colored tape to kitchen utensils and remote controls. We further recommend you place brightly colored non-slip tape or a contrasting or textured strip of flooring in front of a staircase to alert you to the stairs.

    Contrasting colors are just as useful for preparing food and beverages. Pour dark liquids (like coffee or tea) into white mugs, and light liquids (like milk) into darker colored mugs. If your mugs blend in with the color of your countertops, consider purchasing new ones in a contrasting color.

    2. Furnish Thoughtfully

    People with low vision may struggle to maintain eye contact or recognize faces of those who are far away. For this reason, it’s worth moving sofas and armchairs close together.

    Moreover, when choosing furniture, focus on differences in texture and size. It’s often easier for someone with low vision to identify a piece of furniture through touch rather than sight.

    3. Bring in More Light

    Think floor lamps, desk lamps, and sheer window curtains — anything that increases lighting will make it easier to read, cook, do crafts and other activities.

    Desk lamps should be bright and be fitted with a lightbulb that’s at least 75w.

    4. Use Technology

    Consult with your low vision optometrist regarding which optimal low vision digital aids and devices you can use to help you read and identify household items with ease. Some options include closed caption television video magnifiers, handheld video magnifiers and wearable digital headsets.

    5. Make Your Space Hazard-Free

    Consider removing rugs or securing their edges to prevent accidental trips and falls, and ensure that all pathways are free of electrical cords and clutter.

    If your home has a tiled floor, be sure there aren’t any loose, uneven or broken pieces that can easily be overlooked. Additionally, when washing your floors, opt for non-glare detergents that don’t leave a waxy finish.

    Living with low vision can be difficult, but making your home more suited to your visual needs will make daily living easier.

    Your low vision optometrist at Low Vision of Tennessee makes it a priority to provide personalized care and attention to ensure the best possible outcome. After thoroughly examining your eyes and assessing your degree of vision loss, Dr. John Pino will recommend low vision aids and devices to help you maximize your vision and enjoy a better quality of life.

    If you or a family member live with low vision or have been diagnosed with a sight-threatening eye condition, call Low Vision of Tennessee to schedule a low vision consultation today.

    Low Vision of Tennessee serves patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, and Georgia, Tennessee and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Pino

    Q: What is low vision?

    • A: An individual is defined as having ‘low vision’ if their fully corrected vision is insufficient to do what you want to do. Fortunately, there’s hope for those with low vision. A low vision eye doctor can offer vision aids and devices to maximize remaining vision.

    Q: What are low vision aids and devices?

    • A: Low vision aids are a combination of special lenses and devices that maximize any usable vision to help patients recognize faces, watch TV, read and carry out daily tasks. Common low vision aids include low vision glasses like microscopes, telescopes, filters and prisms. There are also electronic visual aids and optical magnifiers.

    Living With Legal Blindness

    Living With Legal Blindness 640

    Being legally blind affects how you go about your daily tasks and how you navigate the world around you. Legal blindness is defined as having 20/200 vision or less. This means that an object that appears clear to a person with a perfect vision from 200 feet away, is only clear to a legally blind person at a maximum distance of 20 feet away.

    Legal blindness is also defined as having a visual field of 20 degrees or less. Those with this type of vision have severe difficulties in mobility, yet see sharply with their central vision.

    Depending on the underlying cause of your condition, you may experience a lack of color contrast, color distortions, loss of depth perception, difficulty with excessive glare, sensitivity to bright light or night blindness. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep doing the things you love, even with low vision.

    Tips for Living With Vision Loss

    Having low vision demands certain adjustments. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and be able to engage in the tasks you most enjoy.

    Cooking Safety

    Being unable to see a cutting surface or an oven rack can be dangerous, but there are several ways to adapt your cooking techniques.

    • To avoid burns from reaching into a hot oven, use an oven rack grabber or long oven mitts. You can also place tape over the knobs for the back burners to avoid using them altogether, then you don’t need to reach over a potentially hot flame.
    • Try to fry or grill foods with a small indoor air fryer or grill; it’s much safer than pan-frying on the stove.
    • Instead of using your stovetop or oven, use a slow cooker.
    • Use a pair of scissors instead of a knife to cut food and packaging.


    Ample lighting is crucial for people with significant vision loss. When lighting your home and work areas, remember to implement the following tips.

    • Keep all rooms evenly lit so that your eyes don’t have to adjust to changes in lighting when walking from one room to another.
    • Use compact fluorescent or LED bulbs instead of incandescent light bulbs. They’re more energy-efficient and produce a brighter light.
    • Depending on your lighting needs, use task lamps that you can move closer or farther away from your work.
    • When writing, avoid shadows by positioning your work lamp on the other side of your writing hand, with the paper sandwiched between your hand and the lamp.


    Being legally blind doesn’t mean you have to give up on your favorite activities or hobbies. Here are a few tips to help those with low vision enjoy taking part in various activities and hobbies:

    • Enjoy playing cards or Bingo? Purchase large print or Braille cards.
    • Enjoy going to the movie theater? Ask whether they have an audio description service—headphones that play the sounds of the movie along with a narrator that describes the characters and scenes.
    • Sports lover? Listen to sporting events on the radio. Radio announcers provide a more detailed description of the game.
    • Enjoy arts and crafts? Use a tactile ruler or tape measure.
    • Like sewing? Anchor your sewing needles in a cork or bar of soap to thread them.

    Computer Use

    Nowadays, computers offer many features to enlarge text or add contrast for easier readability. In addition, you can also:

    • Purchase stickers to place over the keys on your existing keyboard
    • Use a large print or Braille keyboard.
    • Learn keyboard shortcut commands to help you rely less on the mouse pointer.
    • Use additional accessibility software, like speech-to-text software or a screen reading program.
    • Use a larger monitor.

    While experiencing vision loss may at first seem like the end of the world, there are so many ways you can still live a full and productive life. People with low vision or partial vision can benefit from a variety of visual aids to maximize their remaining vision. Regardless of one’s degree of vision loss, a person can benefit from accessible smartphone apps, e-readers, and many other types of adaptive technology.

    Contact Low Vision of Tennessee to learn more about low vision devices, eyewear and technologies that can help you live life to the fullest. Our low vision optometrist will work with you and prescribe the best devices to suit your needs.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Pino

    Q: What is low vision?

    • A: An individual is defined as having ‘low vision’ if their fully corrected vision is insufficient to do what you want to do. Fortunately, there’s hope for those with low vision. A low vision eye doctor can offer vision aids and devices to maximize remaining vision.

    Q: What are low vision aids and devices?

    • A: Low vision aids are a combination of special lenses and devices that maximize any usable vision to help patients recognize faces, watch TV, read and carry out daily tasks. Common low vision aids include low vision glasses like microscopes, telescopes, filters and prisms. There are also electronic visual aids and optical magnifiers.
    • Low Vision of Tennessee serves patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, and Georgia, all throughout Tennessee.

    How To Cope With Vision Loss

    Smiling Optometrist low vision eye exam 640×350A wide range of factors can lead to vision loss and the speed at which your vision deteriorates. For certain patients, changes to vision can occur quickly, as a result of eye diseases like untreated retinal detachment, wet macular degeneration or eye trauma. In other cases, vision loss is often very gradual, developing over many years and even decades, as in the case of open-angle glaucoma and dry macular degeneration.

    Adjusting to visual impairment takes time and patience—but you don’t have to go through it alone. We can help. Below, we offer some tips to help you or a loved one with any degree of vision loss live a more fulfilling, independent and enjoyable life.


    1. Visit a Low Vision Optometrist

    Low vision optometrists are experienced in working with people who have low vision. They offer a low vision evaluation to determine how much vision you have and assess which tasks are giving you trouble. They will then prescribe low vision glasses and devices to allow you to do what you want to do.

    2. Give your eyes a break

    Eye fatigue is a very real and common side effect of vision loss. Many sight-threatening eye diseases cause symptoms like reduced color contrast, color and shape distortion, and light and glare sensitivity, among others.

    All of these symptoms put a great deal of stress on the visual system since your brain works overtime to try and make sense of the distorted images your eyes are sending.

    Make sure that your eyes are getting the rest they need by closing them for a few minutes at a time throughout your day, especially during visually taxing activities. Many patients also find it helpful to take power naps when possible.

    3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

    Although it may be hard at first, asking for help from family, friends and even strangers may be necessary at any stage of vision loss.

    We understand that asking for assistance may feel uncomfortable, but truth is—most people are happy to offer a helping hand.

    4. Try slowing down

    Moving at the same pace you once did can be dangerous after vision loss sets in. Give yourself the extra time you need to complete tasks, both routine and unfamiliar ones.

    For example, if you’ve dropped an object, bend down slowly and cautiously to avoid accidentally bumping your head into something along the way.

    5. Keep things [organized]

    If it feels like you’re spending too much time trying to locate objects around the house, you may need a better organization system.

    Keeping things in a set place will save time and energy. It also fosters independence and [minimizes] daily stress.

    Using bold-colored labels, puffy paint, stickers, pins, and filing systems can all help keep objects neat and easily accessible.

    Customize your [organizational] system to suit your needs — and stick to it. It will take some getting used to at first, but will ultimately be worth the effort.

    6. Start relying on your other senses

    Using your other senses like touch and hearing can be incredibly helpful when trying to get things done.

    Using your hearing to detect an oncoming vehicle at a crosswalk will help you better navigate the road. Or using your hands to scan a surface when looking for your phone or keys can be more effective than trying to spot them visually.

    Whether you’ve been living with low vision for a while or have received a recent diagnosis, we can help. At Low Vision of Tennessee, we understand the challenges that accompany low vision and make it our mission to improve the lives of our patients so they can live a more independent life.

    If you or a loved one has experienced any degree of vision loss, call Low Vision of Tennessee today to schedule your low vision consultation.

    Low Vision of Tennessee serves patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, Georgia, and throughout Tennessee.


    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Pino

    Q: #1: What is low vision?

    • A: People with low vision can achieve no better than 20/70 vision, even with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Low vision is typically caused by eye injuries and eye diseases, among other factors.

    Q: #2: What are low vision aids and devices?

    • A: Low vision aids are a combination of special lenses and devices that maximize any usable vision to help patients read, recognize faces, watch TV, and carry out daily tasks. Common low vision aids include low vision glasses like telescopes, microscopes, prisms, filters, electronic visual aids and optical magnifiers. Your low vision eye doctor will work with you to prescribe the most effective devices for your needs.

    Why Do Seniors Often Overestimate How Well They Can See?

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    Many eye conditions and diseases often creep up slowly, with no discernible symptoms in their early stages. That’s why many people with sight-threatening eye diseases are completely unaware of their condition until they reach irreversible vision loss. This is especially true of those 60 years and older, known to be at higher risk for developing these conditions.

    A Swedish study that included 1,200 seventy-year-olds, 6 out of 10 didn’t realize that their vision was subpar. Nor did they know that there were ways to maximize their remaining vision with certain glasses or a stronger lens prescription.

    The study concluded that many seniors tend to believe that their eye health is better than it actually is, largely because (as mentioned above) the symptoms of eye disease often go unnoticed until its more advanced stages.

    Conditions That Slowly Impair Vision

    Below are some common causes of vision impairment that don’t always show the warning signs early on. If you or a loved one has any of the following symptoms, contact Low Vision of Tennessee to promptly schedule an eye exam.


    When the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, it’s likely due to cataracts—a natural part of the aging process. The majority of cataract cases occur in people over the age of 50. Depending on the location and severity of the cataract, it can interfere with vision and may need to be surgically removed.

    Cataract symptoms include:

    • Blurry or dim vision
    • Faded colors
    • Difficulty seeing at night
    • Seeing halos around lights
    • Frequent changes in lens prescription
    • Sensitivity to light

    Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

    AMD is an eye disease that affects the macula (the central portion of the retina), causing central vision loss. A healthy macula enables us to read, watch TV, recognize faces and see fine details.

    Symptoms of AMD include:

    • Blurred vision
    • Seeing straight lines as distorted or wavy
    • Difficulty reading
    • Oversensitivity to glare
    • Needing bright light to perform close work


    Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. It typically affects both eyes and can lead to peripheral vision loss, known as ‘Tunnel Vision.’ Left untreated, glaucoma can eventually cause total blindness.

    The early stages of glaucoma do not have any obvious signs, which is why frequent eye exams are essential. Symptoms of middle-to-late stage glaucoma include:

    • Blurred vision
    • Eye pain
    • Red eyes
    • Headache
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Reduced peripheral vision
    • Seeing rings around lights
    • Sensitivity to light

    Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

    DR is a complication of type 1 and 2 diabetes that damages the blood vessels in the retina. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher their risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Controlling your blood sugar helps minimize eye damage.

    Symptoms of DR include:

    • Deteriorating vision
    • Impaired color vision
    • Dark areas in your visual field
    • Blurred vision
    • Sudden increase in floaters

    How Our Low Vision Optometrist Can Help

    Here’s the bottom line: many eye diseases develop gradually, waving no red flags until the eye is irreversibly damaged. That’s why comprehensive annual eye exams are so crucial for those 60 years and up, even if they believe their eyes to be in perfect health.

    We at Low Vision of Tennessee use the latest diagnostic technology to ensure the most accurate examination and diagnosis. If any signs of eye disease are detected, please don’t lose hope. We can help.

    Low Vision of Tennessee offers a variety of low vision aids and devices that help maximize your vision, so that you can continue living your life to the fullest.

    Vision impairment shouldn’t have to stop you from doing the things you love. To schedule your low vision consultation, call us today.

    Low Vision of Tennessee serves patients from Nashville, Lebanon, Kentucky, and Georgia, all throughout Tennessee.


    Q: #1: What are low vision aids?

    • A: They are a combination of special lenses and devices that maximize any usable vision in order to help those with reduced vision read, watch TV, recognize faces, and carry out daily tasks. These include low vision glasses, like telescopes, microscopes, prisms, and filters. Other visual help includes electronic visual aids and optical magnifiers. Your low vision optometrist will work with you and prescribe the best devices for you.

    Q: #2: What can cause low vision?

    • A: People with low vision have visual impairments that cannot be successfully corrected using traditional eye correction methods, like surgery, standard glasses and contact lenses. Low vision can be caused by an eye injury, eye diseases like macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, aging, certain accidents, among other factors.

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