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Low Vision Resources for Macular Degeneration

The biggest fear that people have when they are diagnosed with macular degeneration is going blind. The good news is that macular degeneration does not cause total blindness, and there are many resources for the visually impaired to help you continue to live a full life.

Low Vision Services

Low vision services usually means Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, but there are many things that fall under that category including:

  • Visual Assessment
  • Compensatory skills training
  • Assistive device selection and training
  • Assistive technology selection and training
  • Environmental modifications
  • Counseling
  • Other training, such as braille
  • Services for the blind

More information on Low Vision Rehabilitation here.

Assistive Devices and Technology

Assistive devices and technology for low vision/visual impairment are any device or technology that is specifically designed to either enhance your remaining vision or compensate for vision loss. Examples are high magnification devices, AI-assisted apps, magnification headsets, bump dots, large-print books and notebooks, special filters, and more.

These days, there are many, many options for low vision assistive devices and technology, too numerous to keep track of, with more being added all the time. This is good news!

For more resources on the types of assistive devices available and where to find them, click here.

Support Groups and Community

Support groups, particularly when you are first diagnosed, can be a lifeline and a great resource. There are both in-person and online support groups for macular degeneration specifically, and/or vision loss generally.

Support Groups

To find a local, in-person support group, you’ll need to ask around a bit. Start with your retina specialist’s office. You can also call local low vision centers (use Google maps), and your region’s American Foundation for the Blind. They will have a good sense of what resources and supports are available locally for the visually impaired.

Rutgers Health offers a free, peer-support phone line for those with vision loss called Eye2Eye. “Eye2Eye focuses on the shared experience of vision loss as a powerful tool for connection, emotional support, and personal growth. Callers will be matched with trained peer support specialists who are also blind or visually impaired.”

Facebook has an active online group called Living with Macular Degeneration. A word of caution with Facebook groups. You will get a wide mix of information in these groups, but there is no vetting process for what is posted, so you will have to discern what is misinformation and what is helpful. Always consult with your doctor before trying anything new.

Other Resources

Many people with vision loss from macular degeneration aren’t aware of the services that may be available to them in their area. If you are visually impaired, you will likely qualify for services from the American Foundation for the Blind, your local Lion’s Club, low vision centers, and more.

The American Printing House for the Blind’s website offers a wealth of resources, including a state by state services directory, a call center for questions, and much more.