Helpful Hints

  
Using stairs

Stairs can be very dangerous for low vision patients, especially going down stairs.  The stair treads, because they are all the same color, blend together.  Most low vision patients simply cannot see one stair step ending and another one beginning.  We absolutely discourage our patients from counting steps just because of the scenario described above.  Any distraction can lead to a problem.  Instead, we encourage patients to mark the edge of the stair treads with contrasting tape.  It truly is remarkable how much of a difference the contrasting tape makes.  Each individual stair really stands out.  Another, obvious, strategy is to teach patients to make sure they are lightly holding on to the handrail as they descend the stairs.  Good lighting also is very helpful.  Sometimes that is as easy as changing light bulbs to higher wattage.