Encourage everyone in the group to bring (or talk about) something they use that helps them accomplish a task by themselves. Expect to see the following: hand-held magnifiers, black marker for bold printing, talking book machine, bump dots, voice recorder etc. Check out our list of the top ten products people use for independence to be more fully prepared for this discussion.
To encourage more discussion, consider asking
• How did they discover it?
• How long they have been using it?
• What does it do for them and could they do the task without it?
• Was it easy to use from the start or did they get help to learn (who helped them?)
• When do they use it?
The purpose of this discussion is to increase awareness of activities that are currently able to be enjoyed.
Start in the Past: As a child, what was your favorite game to play?
• Encourage sharing of happy times
• What board games, outdoor games, or other activities were played?
• Who did they play with?
Continue in Adulthood: What pastimes did you engage in as an adult?
• Did you play any sports? What did you do for exercise?
• Did you still play games? Cards? Board games?
• Did you do any hobbies?
• Do you like puzzles, trivia games, or Sudoku?
Focus on the Present: What do you still enjoy doing?
• What makes an activity easy or difficult when you have vision loss to deal with?
• What are you using to do some of the activities you like to do? (Better lighting? Magnification? Special item? Descriptions from friends?)
• How do you know who else is participating with you?
• Do you have friends who help you participate? What are they doing?
Emotions range from high to low during visits to the eye doctor. Experiences can be good, bad, or simply confusing. Encourage sharing of experiences to help people realize they are not alone with these feelings. Try to promote better communication skills between doctor and patient.
• Do you like your eye doctor? Why or Why not?
• How often do you go to the eye doctor?
• Tell us about when you first found out you had something wrong with your eyes?
• Does anyone go with you to the appointments?
• Do you do anything to prepare for your appointments? (Such as make notes of questions to ask?)
• Does the doctor ever tell you things you don’t understand? What do you do about that?
To prepare for this discussion, read our What is a Low Vision Exam? and Low Vision Professional resource sheets.
It can become difficult to feel comfortable in social situations when a person has vision loss. It can be difficult to see who is in the room if you can’t see faces. What if they think you are stuck up when you don’t return a friendly wave or smile that you didn’t see?
It can be difficult to mingle if you can’t see your way around and you might miss the refreshments or feel awkward about participating in the festivities. What if your white cane is making others feel uncomfortable about how to approach you?
• Do you let people you meet know that you can’t see them and will need them to identify themselves the next time you meet?
• What do you do to find out who else is in the room?
• What tricks do you use for getting around a social gathering without bumping into people?
• How do you manage eating in public?
• What do you do when you meet someone new but can’t see to write down their contact information?
Read our Tips for Dining with Confidence for some suggestions on this popular topics.
The familiar can suddenly seem unfamiliar with vision loss. What changes have you made in your home to make it more functional to you? What have you learned to do differently in order to see things better in your home?
• Did you change the arrangement of any furniture to make easier paths to walk along?
• What have you noticed about the lighting in your home?
• What do you do when you want to watch TV?
• Can you use the phone in your home?
• How do you use the microwave?
• What safety concerns have you had and what have you done to address them?
Read this excellent resource from VisionAware about home modifications for people with vision loss.
For many people, the safe environment of the vision loss support group is the only place they feel comfortable talking about the fears and frustrations vision loss has caused. Sometimes, it is the people closest to them that they find most difficult to share with. Often frustrations occur when friends and family don’t understand how to support and help their loved one.
• Do you get help from friends or family that you rely on due to your vision loss? What do they do for you?
• Do you feel they understand your vision loss?
• Do you get the right kind of help?
• Do you talk to your friends or family about your vision loss?
We offer a section on our website with information for family and friends. Use our When You Meet Someone With Vision Loss as a resource for this discussion. Our Six Tips for Positive Communication with Family and Friends resource sheet can help set the right tone.
You can also check out two resources at VisionAware: