Helpful Hints

Accessing emergency services

Accessing emergency services is one of the most important things we teach our patients. We start by putting bight, tactile dots on the numbers 9 and 1. These bump dots really stand out and can be felt. It also is helpful if the patient has a large button, high contrast phone. Most people do not know it but the Massachusetts Equipment Distribution Program gives one of these phones to low vision patients for free. We also recommend that a simple desk lamp be near the phone to illuminate the dial pad. That way the keypad is much easier to see.


We believe that this is so important that we make sure that all our patients can either dial 911 by themselves or are wearing an emergency medical alert system button. If they are not subscribers to an emergency alert system program, we provide them with a list of vendors who they can contact.


Being alone and needing emergency help is pretty daunting. We believe that being alone with low vision and needing emergency help can be overwhelming without the right training

patients finally have a better understanding of what is happening to them.

reading matter as close to the face as they should. Simply put, holding the reading too far away means that the spectacles do not work. We teach patients how to position reading materials so that it works best for them within their environment. This may include using a clipboard or reading stand, pillows, or other materials to create a better setting for reading with good body mechanics. As always, our usual recommendation to use good lighting that is positioned properly allows patients to use their devices much more effectively. Good desk or gooseneck lamps with the appropriate bulbs are very helpful. We teach patients to use the lamps and aim the light beam to shine on the reading matter from the side so that the light does not bounce back glare to the patient.