Exhibition on how to help those with low vision

SINGAPORE - Putting a pill box on a black surface so that low vision patients do not lose their pills when they drop them, or organising fridge shelves and labelling them with materials of different textures.

These are some of the tips at an exhibition being held at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where caregivers and the public can find out how to make daily living easier for those with low vision.

Low vision refers to partial visual loss that cannot be corrected by surgery or medication.

Held on Tuesday, the one-day exhibition showcased reading aids like magnifying glasses, and software that can read text out loud.

Visitors were also invited to see life through the eyes of someone with low vision, by putting on special goggles simulating conditions like macular degeneration - where the centre of one's vision might be blurred. Participants were then asked to find items in a fridge.

"I didn't know life with low vision could be so challenging," said Madam Tan Kah Eng, 66, who tried out the glasses.

Tips like labelling fridge shelves with different textured materials or labelling items with expiry dates with large font would help.

"Though I'm healthy now, these tips might come in handy when I am older and if my sight deteriorates," she said.

The hospital said it had organised the exhibition as more low vision sufferers had been turning up for occupational therapy - it saw 40 patients in 2013 and 100 last year.

Said senior occupational therapist Debbie Boey, 31: "Many elderly feel down when they suffer from low vision as it affects their daily life.

"In reality, there are many things we can do to help them live more independently."

The exhibition ends at 3pm on Tuesday but TTSH has a series of talks on living with low vision till the end of the week. The public can call 6357-8018 or email occupational_therapy@ttsh.com.sg for more information.