Our Favorite 2023 Gift Ideas for People with Vision Loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration
It’s the gift-giving season again. If you have a friend or loved one with vision loss from macular degeneration, you may wonder what kind of gifts could be both meaningful and useful.
Vision loss impacts multiple aspects of life, including independence, mood, social connections, and even cognitive function. With the right adaptations and support, individuals can continue to thrive despite the visual impairments caused by age-related macular degeneration.
Our curated selection of gifts honors the unique needs of people with AMD while ensuring they are fun, innovative, unique, and inspiring.
*Disclosure: Some links below are affiliate links. When you purchase a product through one of these links, Amazon will share a small commission with AMDF. In other words, your Amazon purchases will benefit AMDF and the community we serve at no extra cost to you! We only share products we believe to be of benefit to people with vision loss from macular degeneration.
Stocking Stuffers for Macular Degeneration
These stocking stuffers are small and low-cost, but can have a big impact on daily living for people with vision loss from macular degeneration.
The Lucky Line LED Thumb Light sticks on to any key you choose, or a screwdriver, or tape measure, or anywhere you need a little extra directed light, and activates with a button press. Extra light is a one of the key “helpers” for people with AMD.
Why we like it: We found out about this tool from an AMD patient we know, who says it’s one of the most useful tools she has. The bonus of this key light is that it also serves as a tactile marker for a house key.
Where to get it: Buy on Amazon here or check your local hardware store.
Bump dots are a simple home modification tool that can be applied to appliances, outlets, packaging, etc to help guide someone with low vision. For example, in this photo, a bump dot is stuck on underneath the “smoothie” button to help identify the button without trying to read small print.
Why we like it: We learned about bump dots while filming the breakfast episode of Eat Right for Your Sight, from Low Vision Occupational Therapist Beth Daisy. You can point your loved one to that video, or this one to learn more about how to use bump dots, and what low vision services provide.
Where to get it: You can buy on Amazon here, or check with your local low vision centers.
Low Vision Playing Cards
One of the most important things for people experiencing vision loss from macular degeneration is to maintain a sense of connection to others. Loss of independence and mobility can lead to isolation, loneliness, and depression. A simple pack of large print playing cards is a great tool to facilitate and invite someone with AMD “back to the table”. Make it extra special by scheduling a regular card night for you and your loved one with AMD.
Why we like it: Because everyone has a favorite card game. This large print version makes playing cards accessible for people with low to moderate vision loss from AMD.
Where to get it: You can find this set on Amazon here.
Practical Gifts for Macular Degeneration
The three rules for optimizing vision for people with vision loss from macular degeneration are Bigger, Bolder, and Brighter. These are achieved through magnification, increasing contrast, and light. These 2023 picks are useful tools for people with AMD.
Cordless LED Lamp
This nifty cordless LED lamp allows someone with vision loss from macular degeneration to bring the light to where they need it, whether that’s beside a chair for reading, or on the kitchen counter to bring light to a cooking task, or on a table or desk to increase illumination on a writing task.
Why we like it: Modifying an entire home to increase light for all work spaces can be an expensive endeavor. A cordless LED lamp can easily be transported to where extra light is needed.
Where to get it: This one on Amazon has good reviews and easy adjustment controls. Here’s another option from Stella Lighting: it is more expensive but regularly recommended by low vision specialists.
Also, this CORDED option from Verilux is highly rated on Amazon.
Like the portable lamp option above, magnification is also useful when it’s portable. And what’s more portable than pocket-sized? This magnifier will likely not meet all your loved one’s magnification needs, but it will help out in a pinch.
Why we like it: While not the most powerful magnifier on the market, this one has an elegant pull-out design that allows for easy control of the light, and compact protection when not in use.
Where to get it: This particular magnifier can be found on Amazon. For more options, see the magnifiers section of the Carroll Center for the Blind shop.
Yellow Filter Wear-Over Glasses
Yellow filters increase contrast for people with low vision from macular degeneration. This improves ability to read, visual acuity in low light or variable light conditions, and for those who are still able to drive, can improve contrast and clarity for night driving.
Why we like it: Many people still don’t know that wearing filters can improve visual acuity for eye conditions. We want to normalize these powerful and accessible tools!
Where to get it: Cocoons eyewear offers some of the best low vision filters on the market, and are therefore carried by many opticians. The best option is for someone with AMD to work with their eye care specialist or a low vision therapist. A less expensive option can be found on Amazon here.
Tech Gifts for Macular Degeneration
If your loved one is open, or even enthusiastic about high-tech options for their home, these gifts from Amazon’s device line all “play well” together and come with low vision and accessibility features built-in!
Amazon Echo Show
Amazon now carries a range of Echo devices, from a basic Echo Dot all the way up to a 15″ Echo Show. What you may not know, is that Amazon has been quietly building accessibility into their core devices, including for low vision. Read more about it here for inspiration. But to start, we recommend the Echo Show, which, like the Echo Dot, is an interactive speaker that can answer questions, play music, set timers, report on the weather, connect to other smart home devices, and more, but can ALSO includes a “show and tell” feature that helps people with low vision identify items with labels they can’t read. This feature was actually developed based on feedback from the low vision and blind community!
Why we like it: When set up in the kitchen, the Echo Show can become a powerful low vision assistant for cooking and organizing the kitchen.
Where to get it: See and compare different Echo Show options on Amazon here.
Just like the Echo Show, Amazon has taken low vision into consideration with the Amazon Kindle E-Reader. Built-in accessibility features allow the user to adjust font-size, brightness, and contrast, and even use text-to-speech to listen to their book. Even if your loved one still loves physical books, if they are beginning to struggle to read, the Kindle can be a great supplement for books that aren’t available in large print. You can read more about Kindle accessibility here.
Why we like it: A high-tech solution with great usability. But mostly we like it because we’re all readers at AMDF, and really appreciate the low vision accessibility built-in.
Where to get it: Buy the 6.8″ Kindle here.
Amazon Audible Subscription
While the Amazon Kindle has a text-to-speech feature to read books, Audible features audio books read by professional readers, or sometimes the authors themselves. It can be paired with Kindle, OR, can be downloaded and accessed from any computer or smart device. Audible is great for your loved one who likes to listen to something while engaging in a favorite hobby.
Why we like it: Audible is a great alternative to keeping the TV on for “company”. We also love the vast library of options in every genre, and the recent addition of podcasts.
Where to get it: Gift a subscription here.
Unique Gifts for Macular Degeneration
Sometimes you just want something a little more unique, a little more special, or something with a little more meaning to give as a gift.
Donation in Their Honor and the AMD Awareness Pin
For the giftee who already has everything, a donation to macular degeneration research, education, and awareness in their honor can be lovely. Available with any level of donation to The American Macular Degeneration Foundation, the elegantly designed AMD Awareness Pin was created as a wearable art piece to raise awareness about macular degeneration by sparking conversation. ***Please NOTE: the pin will likely not arrive by Christmas, but you can creatively tell them it’s on its way in a card, along with the amount you donated in their name.
Why we like it: Well, we’re biased of course. It’s our mission to support research, education, and awareness, and any gift that supports that mission is dear to our hearts.
Where to get it: Make your donation here, and be sure to check the box that reads, “Please send me a macular degeneration awareness pin.”
Many watches designed for people with low vision are designed for function and not beauty. From the Eone website:
“Eone was founded to solve a problem: to tell time, people who are blind have had to choose between intrusive talking watches, or fragile tactile watches. There were hardly elegant, quality alternatives. Eone founder Hyungsoo Kim was a graduate student at MIT when he learned of this problem through a friend who is blind. Guided by the conviction that everyone has a right to time, he collaborated with designers and persons with vision impairments to create a watch that everyone—sighted or blind—can use and enjoy.”
Why we like it: We learned about the Eone timepiece through Sensei Stewart who was featured in the AMDF documentary, Losing Sight, Finding Hope. It is a beautiful watch, and people with low vision deserve elegant solutions that don’t call attention to their vision loss.
Feeldom Low Vision Cross-Body Bag
Never mind low vision, how may of us have tried to find something in a black bag and felt like we were looking into a void? Feeldom started out creating bags designed for wheelchairs, but this bag was created for people with low vision. From the high contrast exterior and interior, to the tactile zipper pulls, this bag is a unique little powerhouse for portable organization for someone with low vision.
Why we like it: There are very few options for bags and purses designed for low vision. And because Feeldom designs for other disabilities, the zipper pulls are also easier for arthritic hands.
Where to get it: You can buy through Feeldomlife.com
From all of us at AMDF, Happy Holidays! Let us know in the comments if you have an idea for something that should be featured here.