Diagnosed with Macular Degeneration… Now What (10 of 12) – Occupational Therapist
So, you have been diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, now what? Many, when being told they have Macular Degeneration, inaccurately hear, “I’m going blind”, and that can feel like your whole world is collapsing.
It is extremely rare to go completely blind from Macular Degeneration, whether you have either the wet or dry type. If someone tells you that nothing more can be done, that can be very depressing and is often not completely correct. What matters is a better understanding of how to navigate the landscape of the professionals who can assist you with adapting to a world of vision loss.
By the way…. congratulations, you have now become a carpenter! Yes, a carpenter…meaning you now need to assemble a new toolbox of 12-24 new ‘vision-loss’ tools to help you with seeing both near, intermediary and distance objects.
In this 12-part Macular Degeneration Low Vision Guide, I have outlined ideas for you or a loved one to consider when diagnosed Macular Degeneration. It is important to note that not all these action steps are required, but they should be given strong consideration.
#10: Occupational Therapist – Ask your Ophthalmologist for an OT referral
Ask your Ophthalmologist if they have access to a trained low vision occupational therapist. Occupational therapy is paid for by Medicare, however, the prescription needs to be written by either an Ophthalmologist or an Optometrist depending on your geographical area.
An Occupational Therapist will be able to work with you on fine-tuning all the different skills that you might need in order to become and remain independent at your home, including but not limited to: lighting, tactile marking of a microwave oven, thermostat, laundry machine, etc.
To start, your Occupational Therapist will help you to function at the highest possible level by offering tips to prevent accidents and injury. They can recommend lighting that will be most effective for a particular area and activity, pointing out potential hazards and offering solutions, and showing ways to do something in a different way enhances safety.
Your Occupational Therapist can also teach new techniques such as eccentric viewing, visual tracking, and visual scanning which can help you learn to use your remaining vision more efficiently and effectively. Your Occupational Therapist can also help you to modify the task or environment by suggesting individualized changes to improve function, such as recommending adapted equipment tailored to your needs, and providing training in low-vision tools such as magnifiers.
Your Occupational Therapist can also help you to promote a healthy and satisfying lifestyle and suggest how to incorporate a holistic approach to help ensure that you’re able to engage in the things you want and need to do, from basic activities of daily living to recreational and leisure activities.
Scott V. Krug is the President of New England Low Vision and Blindness, a company located in New England, and specializes in bringing hope to people who are low vision or blind through technology, training, and care. Scott has been working in the field of technology and optics for people who are low vision or blind since 1992. Website: NELowVision.com.