Living with Your Disease

If you or a loved one receives a diagnosis of glaucoma, it can be a very stressful time. Learning more about the disease, how to manage it, and how to cope with vision loss can help relieve your worries and take charge of your care. The best way to adapt to vision loss is to learn new ways of doing things.

Visual Rehabilitation for Glaucoma

Visual rehabilitation can help you adjust and function better with your remaining vision, although it cannot restore vision that has been permanently lost.

  • Begin by telling your eye doctor what kind of limitations you are experiencing because of your vision loss.
  • The doctor can then prescribe or recommend optical devices, such as magnifiers. Learn more about other low-vision aids in Helpful Resources.
  • Your doctor may refer you to a vision rehabilitation center, an eye clinic, or other organization. A low-vision therapist can help you adapt your home and workplace and make personalized recommendations for daily living activities.

Eye Pressure Measurement at Home

People with glaucoma can use a portable tonometer to measure their own eye pressure at home. The instrument can be very helpful for people who have difficulty visiting a doctor for the multiple readings needed for an accurate diagnosis.

You and possibly a family member will need training from your doctor to correctly use a tonometer. You or your family member can take readings at various times of the day, per a doctor's instructions, and then bring the results to the doctor for the final reading. Check with your doctor to see if a portable tonometer is practical and affordable for you.

Your Other Senses

Hearing and Listening Better

Most people with low vision are surprised to find out how much information they can gather from their senses of hearing, touch, and even smell. Listening to audiobooks and using listening skills more may seem difficult at first but will become easier over time.

Listening more means remembering more. Most people never fully develop the ability to remember what they hear because there is no need. Improving listening skills means giving full attention to what you hear rather than dividing your attention between what you see and what you hear.

Those with low vision may still receive visual cues from eyesight, but they will need to shift more and more of their attention to listening. As you grow more accustomed to listening to books, newspapers, and magazines through audio devices and working with screen-reader software, you’ll gradually remember more of what you hear.

You can learn to tune in to your sense of hearing in many practical ways to help with daily activities. For example, learning to locate the sound of the hum of the refrigerator can signal that you are entering the kitchen. Hearing the sound of cars and other outside street noises indicates an open window and its location.

Using Touch

Those with low vision can also learn to rely more on the sense of touch in many practical ways. Selecting clothes from the closet, for example, will be easier if a person focuses on the textures of fabrics and associates them with mental pictures of certain garments.

If you have severe vision loss, using a cane or walker outdoors helps you use the sense of touch to get more information about the environment. These “feelers” will help detect changes in the pavement, the closeness of objects, and the presence of stairs.

Even without a cane or walker, using your feet to feel your way, especially when climbing or descending stairs, can support your diminished vision and prevent dangerous falls.

Protection from the Sun

For details on how to best protect your eyes from sun damage, see Recreation and Quality of Life.