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Living with Low Vision: Creating a Safe Home

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Jennifer Kaldenberg

This telephone discussion features Jennifer Kaldenberg, an occupational therapist who has expertise in working with older adults who are living with visual impairment.

  • BrightFocus Foundation

    “Creating a Safe Home and Living with Low Vision”
    Transcript of Teleconference
    August 27, 2014
    1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT


    Please note: BrightFocus Chats may be edited for clarity and brevity.

    GUY EAKIN: Hello, everyone, and welcome to our monthly BrightFocus Chat, presented by the BrightFocus Foundation. My name is Guy Eakin. I’m a former researcher, and I now am the Vice President of Scientific Affairs at the BrightFocus Foundation.

    Today we are going to talk about how to create a safe home environment when living with low vision. We have many patients on the call, but we also have friends and family of those patients, so we hope that this call will be helpful for all those people who have asked themselves, “How can I help”?

    If you would like to submit a question at any time during today’s call, please press *3 to submit your question to an operator. If for some reason you are disconnected from the call, here is the number to call back. It’s 877-229-8493. That’s 877-229-8493. You’ll need an ID code to punch in, and that’s 112435; again, that’s 112435.

    Our guest today is Jennifer Kaldenberg, who’s an Occupational Therapist at the New England Eye Institute and specializes in visual impairment. She’s also a clinical assistant professor at Boston University and regularly publishes in occupational therapy and optometry journals.  So I want to thank Jen for joining us today. How are you doing?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: I’m good, thank you.

    GUY EAKIN: Thank you. So what is an occupational therapist in the context of low vision? What can you say about your profession that will let people know what they should expect to gain from your services?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Great. Simply, an occupational therapist is a healthcare practitioner who assists people across their lifespan to participate in things they want or need to be able to do. In low vision, specifically, occupational therapists assist people in learning to use their remaining vision to complete activities that are important to them or to teach compensatory strategies such as using organization—you know, putting your keys in the same place every day so that you don’t get frustrated that you can’t find them; or tactile strategies such as using simple things like bump dots to mark an oven so you are able to recognize 350 degrees on your oven; or even, if you can’t rely on your vision, then maybe you can use your hearing, although sometimes that is a problem, but we can use auditory strategies to complete the tasks that an individual wants to be able to do.

    GUY EAKIN: So, I think one of the things we can do today as we start off our conversation, maybe break down all of the—you know, as I walk into a home, there are just a hundred things I might need or do, but let’s talk first about safety. I know many people on the call might be concerned about tripping or falling, and I wonder if there are specific steps from your perspective that people with low vision might take to avoid those falls in the home.

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Sure. Unfortunately, as one ages, there is an increased risk of falling or tripping, and for those who have a visual impairment, they are at an even greater risk of falling.  

    Fortunately, there is a lot that can be done to reduce that risk, but that is through addressing the multiple issues that can create a fall, such as chronic health conditions, balance problems, sensory loss, hearing or vision impairment, acute illnesses, the environment—which we’re going to talk a lot about—medications, the use of bifocal lenses (especially when using ambulatory aids, such as a walker), the footwear people wear; even the adaptive equipment people use to reduce their risk of falls can actually create a fall.

    So, some ways to reduce your risk are by addressing those factors that we just talked about. Keeping active and eating right can reduce the risk of chronic health problems like stroke, hypertension, or diabetes, but it can also improve your balance. There is a lot of research going on looking at Tai-Chi and other exercises to reduce the risk of falling, especially with older adults.

    Acute illnesses, such as urinary tract infections, create an urgency, so staying hydrated and discussing these issues with your physician may reduce the risk for rushing. As we rush, that is when falls occur. Another thing that needs to really be addressed with the individual’s primary care physician is the medications people are on. Both prescriptions and over-the-counter medications really need to be discussed to reduce the risk of medication errors and medication interactions.

    And a lot of times people hear about—which I’m sure in future talks, you’re going to talk about—is multi-vitamins, especially with the AREDS study, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. There are lots of vitamins that people can be on that slow the progression of macular degeneration, but those vitamins can interact with prescription medication, so it’s important that there is that discussion with a primary care physician.

    Other things such as wearing good footwear—it kind of seems silly to talk about, but oftentimes, people either slip on or put on slippers, or I have even worked with many people who still wear high heels, and that can increase their risk of falling. Some of the other issues in terms of the environment and adaptive equipment that can really reduce the risk are improving lighting, removing throw rugs—lots of people have throw rugs down, but oftentimes just walking through a room you can catch the corner of a rug, which will increase your risk of falling. And if you can’t see the edges of things very accurately, then that can increase the risk of stubbing your toe on that corner of the rug, and down you could go.

    Increase in contrast—for example, being able to see the rise in the tread of a stair. If everything is the same color, then someone might not be able to identify where a step begins and ends. Keeping walkways wide and void of any obstructions, as well as having the appropriate adaptive equipment, such as properly installed bath benches and grab bars. Oftentimes, people have this equipment, but it is often not put in the correct position, so that it can actually increase one’s risk for falling. So having that properly installed can really be beneficial. Those are a few things.

    GUY EAKIN: Sure. I have to say, we reached out to some of our friends who have low vision and, of course, most low vision is actually a macular degeneration, and we asked them a few questions about what helps them and what might be surprising to other people. It’s really interesting to hear you talking about how good footwear might help with low vision and how staying hydrated might help.

    I’ll throw out some of the other ideas during the course of the call. One of our friends suggested that you plan on carrying tote bags so that these tote bags may hang at your sides rather than in front of you, because when you are walking with something in front of you, she said, it obscures her vision. She’s actually gone as far to invest in a wheeled cart that she drags behind her.

    One of the questions we have is specifically about safety in the kitchen for the low vision community. So what’s important to have there? When you walk into a kitchen, what are the first things that you are going to think about for someone who has low vision?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: I certainly would want to ask what activities that person has to be able to do in the kitchen. There are lots of hazards in the kitchen; for example, simple things like being able to safely navigate the stove and the oven, simple things like being able to see the temperature dial. If someone has a hard time seeing that dial, then they’re bending and twisting and turning to be able to get closer to the dial. If there are things on the stove, or if things are sticking out, then you’re increasing the risk for a fall or an injury.

    A burn could occur very easily. If an adaptation can be made so people could identify the temperature on the stove without having to get closer that could increase their safety. A simple thing we utilize quite frequently is a bump dot, which is just a raised marking that we would put on, say, 350 degrees of the oven so that if you just turn the dial you can either feel for the bump dot, or if it’s a high contrast color, then you could just line up the dial with the marking so that from a distance you can set your oven more safely.

    GUY EAKIN: Where would I find those bump dots? If I don’t have an occupational therapist in my home, is this something I can get at a general store?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Not necessarily a general store; however, you could get something similar at a general store. Even on the resource list on the BrightFocus website there are some resources for catalog companies that sell things like those bump dots, such as companies like MaxiAids, that you could just Google and purchase on your own. But there are other things you can do; simple things, even like nail polish, or if someone is crafty, there’s a product called puff paint, which you could purchase from any type of craft store. There are other adaptations. Even if you had a piece of Velcro, you could just cut a piece of Velcro, so you could feel that. It’s really just either being able to tactilely identify or visually identify what that setting is at a safe distance.

    GUY EAKIN: So is there anything else around the kitchen? You’ve talked about the stove, is there—if we look around at the sink or at the tiles—is there anything else you might point out for the callers?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Sure. There are lots of “tricks of the trade” kind of things you can do, such as things about knife safety. You don’t want to be searching in cabinets for knives and things like that if you can’t safely see them. One of my clients that I’ve worked with put knives on the back of the sink, so when she was washing the dishes, she knew never to reach into the sink to clean them. She put them at the back, so that the last step she did was to clean her knives. Even in the drawers, she had a specific place. Using those organizational strategies, she knew exactly where they were so she could be safe in either cleaning them or in obtaining them.

    Another thing to think about is putting items in locations that are easily accessible. For example, if you use certain pots and pans on a regular basis, not having to reach, bend, twist, or turn to be able to get them—have them at arm’s length, or put them in an area of your kitchen that is easy to navigate through and easy to access. You don’t necessarily want to be on your hands and knees to be able to find something in a cabinet. Getting up and down off the floor can be harder as we get older, so having things at easy arm’s reach is good.

    Other things: using contrast can be very helpful. For example, if you’re having trouble with pouring liquids, which can be difficult—contrast sensitivity decreases with macular degeneration, and our ability to see the foreground from the background gets a little bit more difficult—so simple things like pouring a cup of coffee. If you simply pour coffee in a white mug as opposed to a dark mug, it’s easier to identify the level of the liquid as it’s rising.

    There are also tools that can be used. There’s a device called the “say-when” which is a little piece of equipment that you simply put over the lip of the mug or whatever you’re pouring into, and it has two metal prongs that hang down into the cup, so that when you’re pouring, when the liquid level hits those metal prongs, it plays a little music, so you know to stop pouring. You could also use your finger for that, but if you’re pouring for someone else, they may not want your finger in there, or if it’s hot, you wouldn’t want to risk burning yourself. So that is a simple little tool that can help with pouring.

    Other things like high contrast for cutting. We often use a cutting board that is black on one side and white on the other. You just use whichever side is in contrast to whatever you are cutting, and that can be a simple way of identifying where things are in space while you are preparing things in the kitchen.

    GUY EAKIN: So you’re talking about making contrast better by using materials that make contrast better, but a discussion on contrast leads into a discussion on lighting. I’m curious, if you are putting yourself into someone’s home, what do you identify as being bad lighting? What are the things you can do to correct bad lighting in someone’s house?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Lighting is crucial for everyone over the age of 40. When I am working with other therapists, and when I am working with clients, I always say that if there’s one thing I can do to help it is to improve the lighting. It’s a little complicated, and it’s not as simple as increasing the wattage of the bulb; in fact, that’s often not the issue. The closer the light is to the object the viewer is trying to look at, the brighter it is. So, for example, when someone is reading, having a floor goose-neck lamp positioned over the shoulder and focused on the reading material can really increase both the visibility of the print and the brightness of the light.

    GUY EAKIN: When you say “goose-neck,” that’s one of these lights that you can kind of bend the neck out a little bit and direct the angle of the light; is that what you are talking about?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Correct. And that will allow the fixture to come closer to the object that someone is looking at: the book, the magazine, whatever. The closer the light gets, the easier it is to see, and the brighter the light is. Having that flexibility is really important when we’re talking about lighting fixtures, and especially when we are talking about reading and writing tasks.

    GUY EAKIN: Well, I want to remind people that if they have any questions, and everyone here lives someplace, so if you have any questions about your own home, things that might be done, or even comments about things that you do that other people may want to know about, hit *3 and it’ll take you out of the call briefly to an operator who will take down your question and forward it over to us.

    As I said earlier, we went out to some of our friends for ideas about things that they do that help. One of our friends said that their goal is to never have to walk through a dark room, so they use stick-on lights. These are plastic lights that have adhesive on the back that they can put in hallways and in problem areas of their homes; these lights have a pressure switch that you hit with the palm of your hand and they turn and turn off once you hit that again. So that is something people might consider.

    Jen, one of the questions that has come up (and it has come up from one of our callers actually, as we move into the question and answer session), one of our questions is from Paulette from North Carolina, asking how can she get low-cost or free aids? And I think there is a larger discussion here about whether insurance covers the cost and, at a general level, what are the first steps someone should take to understanding where there might be low-cost devices or whether or not their insurance might cover these types of devices in their communities?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Generally, for example, most of my clients have Medicare and that’s their primary insurance company. Medicare does not reimburse for low vision devices as of today—maybe that will change in the future, but not as of today—but other insurance companies may cover some low vision devices. Oftentimes, that is on a person-by-person basis, and that would be something they would have to inquire about with their insurance company.

    For example, I’m in Massachusetts, and some of the companies’ vision service plans may have some coverage, but it’s on a prior approval basis, but also our MassHealth, which is our Medicaid, does cover low vision devices, so it is state-by-state. You’d have to look at that in terms of insurance companies.

    But there are other resources within communities that can certainly be looked into; for example, Easter Seals, they often have low vision devices or assistive technology programs that are available to consumers. Lions Club International has some great benefits for people; it is a by-region kind of request, so you’d have to look into that. Local commissions for the blind; your state commission for the blind often will have resources available. Most typically they are for people who have been deemed legally blind, but some do have low vision resources as well. And local associations for the blind; they often have some resources available for low-cost or free low vision devices, but you would have to contact them. They often are great resources as well for local agencies that may have support.

    Also, on the BrightFocus website there are some resources listed under the low vision resource list for some programs that are available on a national level.

    GUY EAKIN: That is certainly a lot of information to throw out and I want to remind people that we always make recordings of these conversations, and also we post transcripts on our website so you can visit our website and you can download those transcripts and actually re-listen to the recordings if that is your interest. You can also listen to archived recordings on the telephone by calling 1–773–572–3164, that’s 1–773–572–3164. Or you can simply call us at 1-800-437-2423 and our operators would be happy to get a print copy of any transcripts back out to you.  So all of these ideas we are talking about today, you don’t have to sit down and write them down today, we can get that to you at a later date, if you just call us. That number again is 1-800-437-2423 or visit our website at

    OK, let’s go to some of the questions. So one question we have, we have Dorothy in Maryland calling in and asking if moving a chair two to three feet closer to the TV will be detrimental to her eyesight? Gosh, I remember hearing that growing up, my Mom telling me, “Move back.” So what would you tell Dorothy?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Dorothy, no worries, you can move as close to the TV as is comfortable for you. There is no health, you know—there used to be discussions about radiation from televisions, none of that. Getting closer is not going to impact your vision. The only thing is, if you are living with someone, you might get in the way by being closer, but it doesn’t hurt to be closer to the TV; that’s actually the easiest solution to make the image look bigger, so it’s perfectly fine.

    GUY EAKIN: Well, Mom, if you’re on the call today, I hope you heard that. One of the things that has come up from several questions is the idea of electronic devices. So, for starters, we have Wilma from California asking if there are visual aids to put over a computer screen to aid in reading the Internet or even software, I might add, that might help with reading the Internet?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Sure. There are lots of resources available in terms of electronic technologies, depending on what type of computer you have. If it’s an Apple, or a PC, it does matter a little bit in terms of the internal accessibility features. Oftentimes, the simplest adaptation you can make to a computer is to reduce the resolution of the screen; you actually increase the size of the font. By asking your friendly OT in your area, they can help you with those kinds of things.

    But there are lots of different devices out there. There are magnifiers that you put in front of a TV or a computer screen. The problems with those is often the type of optics that they use for magnification actually degrades the image a little bit. It gets a little bit blurry; it’s bigger, but it’s a little bit blurry, so some of those magnifying screens aren’t, may not be the best solution. But there are all kinds of software and also internal accessibility features that can make using the Internet or the computer much easier and more accessible for anyone really.

    We’re seeing lots of technology advancements. For example, I’m actually doing a study this fall looking at using the iPad for lots of different daily activities. There are many applications that you can obtain for the iPad, for example. They have apps that are color identifiers, so if someone can’t identify the color in the clothing in their closet, there’s a little app that you just add to your phone or your iPad, and the phone will tell you, or the iPad will tell you what color that item is. There are money identifiers; there are lots of different applications; so technology is really expanding quite quickly.

    So there are lots of things that are available, and there are many practitioners out there, occupational therapists. There are professionals out there from the rehab blindness field, for example, they’re often at commissions for the blind throughout the country. There are trained people out there who can help people learn to use this technology to assist them in their daily activities.

    GUY EAKIN: Well, thank you. I have to say, that went right into a question we have from Barbara from California who was asking, beyond computers, what other electronic devices are helpful with low vision? You briefly touched on maybe these new tablets we have, and we have smart phones that have built-in cameras that have really amazing capabilities. Are there less well known electronic devices that people may be interested in for their daily activities?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: There are lots of different devices that may individually do some of the tasks I was just talking about with the applications. But we’re kind of seeing a change in, or a trend towards, using a single device that has multiple uses to it. There are devices out there that read UPC [Universal Product Code] labels in the grocery store and can tell you what that item is and what the ingredients are; those kinds of things. There are money identifiers. There are all kinds of different devices that can do single tasks. But we’re seeing the shift to using technology more like smart phones that have applications that can do multiple things in one device, versus having a single device for a single task.

    GUY EAKIN: So, for people who might not have an OT in their area, how would you tell someone to find out about these devices or about places in their area that might be able to sell the device, or even Internet resources where they might be able to buy the device, such as maybe even Amazon or one of these popular vendors on the Internet? For someone who doesn’t have an OT, where do they go?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: I think that the first steps are really commissions for the blind in their state or local associations for the blind; those services really specialize in working with consumers who have a vision loss, so they do know those local and national resources and also can steer people in the right direction.

    And I just want to put a caveat in here that oftentimes purchasing things, for example, without having a low vision examination, can actually be, not harmful, but could slow down the process of adapting to vision loss. Without having a low vision examination, you may not be determining, for example, the right magnification that is required for your specific condition or for your specific vision impairment. The low vision specialist can oftentimes find the power that’s required for that person to be able to do the activities they want to be able to do, and if we miss that step, then sometimes people buy the wrong device and then get frustrated and think that if this doesn’t work, then nothing will work. But if we start with finding the right tool for the right task, then we’re starting on the right foot with success, so that it’s a more positive start to adjusting to vision loss.

    GUY EAKIN: Well, let’s move onto another question here. We have Mr. Fulton from California who is asking where do you get reading glasses prisms? Maybe you might address a little bit about where to get these, but for the callers who don’t know what a prism is, or what it’s doing for low vision, what are they, and secondly, where do we get those?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Sure. Prisms have, there are multiple types of prisms, and they are used for a variety of things. Prisms that are used in reading glasses often are used to help people focus at near. As we get older, when presbyopia hits and that arm is not long enough, it’s because the flexibility of our eyes is harder to focus at close up and the closer we have to bring things for those who are using reading glasses. Oftentimes, that helps us bring things up closer so that we’re able to read. When you have low vision, you often have to bring it even closer, and by bringing it closer, it actually enlarges the image. But prisms are used to help bring those eyes together so we can focus at near. Hopefully that was clear enough in my explanation. Prisms are a prescriptive optical device, so those are obtained by, most often, a low vision optometrist.

    GUY EAKIN: OK, well I wanted to tell you about some of the things that other people had written in to us to tell us about what they use in their homes. One of those is that broken or uneven sidewalks, patios or decks, are difficult to see, and your community may have resources to help deal with these.

    We had another comment coming in that when you’re in a new place and you have low vision, you may have to go up and down stairs; it’s helpful for her to ask, not just the number of stairs, but whether or not they are all the same size and height because sometimes you get tricked and sometimes the stair may not be the height you thought.

    We had another question about colored key holders that were helpful. We all carry around a bunch of keys in our pocket and, from hardware stores, you can get these little plastic covers that go on keys that have bright colors on them, and that’s been very helpful for the person to figure out which key goes to which lock.

    We have a comment from Ellen from Massachusetts—it’s not a question, but she’s saying that we need to develop better and simpler equipment for people who suffer from AMD, and she wants to see more user friendly and effective devices. So, you’re in the research field. Where are the trends? What do you see people doing to make sure that the equipment does not require a user manual, and that the user manual does not come in 10-point font to the person with low vision who’s trying to use it?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Yeah, it’s interesting and I really appreciate that comment. It’s true that sometimes you need a training manual for these things. I think the biggest lesson is that oftentimes assistive technology requires training, and that doesn’t necessarily occur everywhere.

    That’s where I’m hoping that there is a change, where people who have a vision loss do get referred for rehabilitation so that they get the training, so that it matches. The devices match the needs of that individual, and then that individual learns how to utilize the equipment, but also to understand how vision loss is impacting them today and then learn those skills so they are able to adapt if things change down the road. Without that rehabilitation piece, they’re really missing a lot of hope and a lot of help with that adjustment to vision loss.

    In terms of technology, though, we are seeing a shift from the more—historically, we saw lots of different magnifiers being used and individual devices being used for very specific tasks. Now we’re seeing more of that electronic magnification, so reading machines, things that can adapt over time. But we’re also seeing a lot more computer adaptations, tablet technology, being used, although there’s no research really looking at the outcomes of that, so hopefully we see that coming along as well, but maybe it’s just too new.

    GUY EAKIN: Well, we all certainly hope to see these things, as we do know that those complications are easy to overlook by the people who are otherwise well intentioned. We certainly look at things like the labels on medications and they’re often written in a very, very tiny font, so where we can the BrightFocus Foundation helps in reprinting these things, but there is certainly a lot of work to be done in that area.

    One thing I’d like to remind people is that if you do have a question, hit *3 and that will take you briefly out of the conversation to an operator who will take down your call. We are trying to keep to questions that are along our themes of “Safety in the Home,” so more therapeutic questions that are about specific drugs or medical procedures we’ll save for another time, or we’ll get back to you in some way.

    So one of the questions that is on a lot of people’s minds is driving. What can you tell us about driving with low vision? And what is the process that you take with a patient when they come in and they say, “I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing, but what’s out there to either test myself or to make things easier?”

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Sure. So that’s a really hard discussion, and it’s also a really hard decision for people.

    I think that there are some regional changes, or differences, between if you live in an urban community versus a rural community and access to alternative transportation. Sometimes if there’s alternative transportation, it’s easier retiring from driving, but when someone lives in a more rural community, then discontinuing or retiring from driving may also in their mind mean more social isolation, not being able to get out, being more home bound. So, really it’s a difficult discussion to have, and depending on where you are in the country, driving requirements do vary from state to state.

    For example, in the state of Massachusetts, we have three different driving licenses for automobile drivers. We have an unrestricted driver’s license; we have a day-time restricted driver’s license; and we have a bioptic driving license. The restricted and the bioptic directly relate to low vision. Looking within the state and what those requirements are, I often have the discussion with my clients, sort of that “What if?” discussion, because there’s lots of circumstances where your vision is impacted by the environment.

    For example, on a very sunny day, oftentimes older adults, and also those with vision impairment, if there’s a very bright light, then the time it takes to adjust to that bright light gets longer the older we are, and on top of that, having a retinal condition can impact your ability to see the environment for a period of time. And it’s those “What ifs?”—What if a child crosses the street running after a ball, or if there’s a pedestrian, or if there’s a bicyclist? I often have that discussion with my clients on how would you feel—you kind of have to think about your safety and your ability to drive safely.

    But there’s also the discussion about my responsibility, I feel, to discuss those alternatives to driving: looking at community resources, oftentimes, councils on aging. Your local town may have a council on aging, so they may have volunteers who drive people to doctor appointments or the grocery store. You might have a local bus that can pick people up and do door-to-door kind of service. So, it’s really exploring those community resources that is really important. Councils on aging can be very helpful there.

    If people want to drive on those restricted driver’s licenses, I often refer them to driver rehab programs that test their ability and safety in the automobile, not only their knowledge about driving, but also on the road safety. In my role, I don’t do on-the-road training with people, but I refer out to other OTs that do that, so that they really can see are they really safe driving with their current vision, or the status of their vision.

    GUY EAKIN: It’s such a hard question that people struggle with, and we have some thoughts on it that we’d love to send out to you if you’re interested. We have a brochure called “Safety and the Older Driver” that we offer at the BrightFocus Foundation. You can get it through our website at, or that telephone number I gave earlier (1-800-437-2423). I think we have time for one more question, and we have Diana in Maryland asking, if we move back indoors, how about glare control? Do you have any glare control recommendations for dealing with natural light? I know in my office I have this beautiful morning sunshine, but man when it hits the computer screen or something reflective, it’s just impossible to see things. So what do you tell people to do about glare from natural light?

    JENNIFER KALDENBERG: Sure. Glare is a huge problem. When we talked about lighting earlier, I said that one thing we can do is improve lighting, but lighting is complicated because as we increase lighting, we have the potential to increase the amount of glare, both indoors and outdoors. Oftentimes I’m working with clients to find a filter, so that’s a fit-over, like a pair of sunglasses, but specifically designed to address glare indoors, so that they can fit over glasses or you can just wear these glasses. Oftentimes, specific colors of filters can help not only the glare but can also increase contrast. For example yellow filters can really improve contrast, but sometimes it also brightens things. For glare control, sometimes, and for some people, it’s very helpful, and for other people they may think it’s a little brighter.

    In my experience, for my clients with macular degeneration, a light plum color filter, really for many of the clients I work with, they thought that was a great comfortable color that just kind of cut out the indoor glare. For outdoors, it was probably too—it didn’t block out enough light—but for indoors, that light plum was very helpful. But again, if the client wanted to address glare, they could work with their low vision optometrist or ophthalmologist to find a color that would be effective indoors and also outdoors. Outdoors usually is a much darker filter, but I’ve often see that light plum or yellow be very effective.

    GUY EAKIN: Well that’s about all the time we have today. I just want to thank you again so much Jen for taking the time to speak with us today. Thank you to everyone who joined the call and who asked questions. As I mentioned earlier, we will be posting the recordings and the transcripts of the call on our website. You can also listen to and download these past chats on iTunes and sound cloud, or you can call us at 1-800-437-2423 and we can give you other ways of getting hold of those transcripts or past recordings.

    Our next chat will be on Wednesday, September 24th at 1 p.m. EDT, 10 a.m. PST. We do encourage you to register early and we can send you an email reminder about that call. If you would like to register for that chat right now, you can do so and at the same time you can request free low vision materials, like our Amsler Grid, by calling us at BrightFocus at 1–800–437–2423 or visiting our website at

    We’d like to find out a little more about you as listeners and make sure we’re providing information that’s most helpful to you. We’re going to ask you one short question, which you can answer using the key pad on your telephone. The question is quite simple: How long have you had macular degeneration? If you were just diagnosed, press 1; if you’ve had macular degeneration for many years, press 2; and if you’re on the call today for a friend or a family member and do not personally have macular degeneration, press 3. So that’s 1 if you were just diagnosed, 2 if you have been living with macular degeneration for many years, and 3 if you’re on the call today because you’re helping out someone else, a friend or a family member.

    The BrightFocus Chats are a monthly call, and to find out more about those upcoming chats just give us a call or check our website for updates. Thank you everyone for your feedback and if you’d like to leave a comment for the call, just stay on the line. Thank you from all of us at BrightFocus Foundation. Have a great day.

    The information provided here is a public service of BrightFocus Foundation and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical, dietary, and/or exercise advice. Any medications or supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical products or therapies.

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