Maximizing Time After Vision Loss

Hannah Lying on a long chair in the sun with her hat over her eyes.

Time is at the heart of disability. The time you have available to do things you want to do. Time to accomplish tasks, and most important of all to relax.

When you see well sight is your go-to method of acquiring information! So discovering it has partly or entirely disappeared is a great shock which takes time to recover from by itself!

But what to do?

  1. Learn tasks using touch and muscle memory.    This is much faster than using sight.

No pianist   or computer expert would watch their hands     as they work – it’s far too slow! They use muscle memory. Same with chefs, auto mechanics and knitters. We all use muscle memory to guide hand movements to set the stove, turn on lights, unlock doors and a hundred other actions.

The muscles in our fingers, hands, and arms are marvelously adapted for learning tiny movements. But muscle memory depends on practice. Our hands do not fly to the correct keys after a lapse of time. After a few months muscle memories fade unlike visual memories, still fresh after decades. (Make notes about tasks such as setting dials or using keystrokes you only use occasionally.)

Muscle memories get stored long term with actions repeated thousands of times like holding a fork, gripping a screwdriver or clasping the baby.  It’s well worth pushing yourself to train those tiny muscles and nerves in new ways to speed you up.

Here’s another good tip to make the best use of time

  1. Leave set ups in place  such as power strips with stuff always plugged in

Build grocery, pharmacy and any other shopping lists  with all the items you ever need.  Use it to make this week’s list. (Amazon’s Alexa will add to a shopping list using voice commands.)

Keep everything just where you use it:

Coffee scoop in the coffee container

Favorite snacks or lunch food in a designated bin or basket

Bedtime needs next to your bed

Clothes hung up, in outfits,  and in bins inside the drawer

  1. Setting up a task tends to take a long time so do tasks with the same set up at the same time.

Batch cooking – double the recipe for today and tomorrow or freeze half.

This applies to all kinds of tasks. Use trays, or bins to set up different parts of your task and do several at the same time.

  1. Method and orderliness is a time saver because searching by touch is such a pain and takes so long.

(If it’s me I miss whatever I’m looking for by touch all the time.) This means having 1 or 2 places only where you put your eye glasses, keys, phone, and water glass

This enforced orderliness and good organization is so vital to getting back a life, but it’s hard work

  1. it is also essential to have other things you do that are lovely and relaxing  such as lying on the deck in the sun!

When You Can’t Believe Your Eyes: Vision Loss and Personal Recovery, the first How To guide for people losing sight and their families was published in 2019. It is available on Amazon in print, and Google Play Books as an accessible eBook, NLS talking books (#DBC11619) and on Bookshare. Thanks to generous friends and family the eBook is also available free of charge. It can be read in regular or large print or as an audio book. Apply for accessible free copy here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *