Tips for the Home Environment and LIVING WITH VISION LOSS

If you or someone you care about is experiencing vision loss, there is likely a sense of frustration in preforming everyday tasks.  Most people[e want to remain in their own home and remain as independent as possible.  Others may choose to seek alternate living arrangements.

We’ve put together some simple tips that you can begin using immediately to help maximize your independence and safety along with make preforming daily living tasks a little easier.

You can do nearly everything you did with sight, you’re just going to do it a little differently now.


Some of the most important things to remember

when working with vision loss are:

lamp over book on a desk




table setting with plate and sliverware




CONTRASTlow vision black and white cutting board

In most cases either black on white or white on black is effective in maximizing visibility.

This is an individual preference and should be considered when considering options.


  • If possible, paint walls and trim in contrasting colors to better identify doorways. Avoid glossy finishes, they can cause additional glare.

  • In the kitchen consider getting cutting boards in various colors: use the dark colored one for cutting potatoes and onions and the light colored one for cutting tomatoes and carrots.

  • Some manufacturers are making pots and pans with white interiors, this can help increase contrast when cooking.

  • If you can, purchase solid color plates and bowls, preferably black or white.

  • Use with contrasting place mats or table coverings. This can make it easier to see the food on the plate.

  • Use this same process for glassware, pour light colored liquids in a dark glass or mug and vice-versa.

  • In the bathroom, use towels, washcloths and bath mats that contrast with the tub, tile, wall and floor.

  • Throw a brightly colored sponge in the bath so you better distinguish the height of the water more easily.


There are times when additional lighting can be beneficial and other instances where it can increase glare and cause more difficulty in seeing.

person reading with a large lamp overhead

  • Make sure that stairways are well lit and have hand railings that are secured to the wall.

  • Use blinds or sheer curtains on windows to help control natural light.

  • Try to avoid shiny surfaces on walls, floors, tables and countertops.

  • Be cautious when placing mirrors in any room. The reflection may cause additional glare.

  • Provide adequate lighting for the activity you’re trying to do.




Making a private or public environment comfortable and functional for individuals who are blind or visually impaired should be part of universal design that will benefit all users of a facility, whether it is a workplace or a home.   

                                                                                                                                                Organized closet

  • Organize your belongings into logical groupings.

  • Store equipment and supplies near the activity you’ll use them for.

  • Always return things to the same place.

  • Eliminate clutter wherever possible by disposing of unnecessary items and finding a place for everything else.

  • Use a large print calendar with large enough squares to track your appointments.

  • Develop a filing system by using color coded folders and large print labels for keeping important documents.

  • Use labels and markers to identify items around the home. This can be especially helpful when trying to differentiate canned and boxed food items and medications.



Making a home safe for persons who are blind or visually impaired doesn’t have to take a lot of time, energy, or money.

man walking down hallway with a cane

  • Throw rugs can be a tripping hazard but can also be beneficial in identifying landmarks within the home. If you use throw rugs, make sure they are slide resistant and buy them in contrasting colors to the flooring underneath.

  • Discard old or expired prescription and nonprescription medications.

  • Close cabinet doors and drawers immediately after use.


The guidelines we’ve provided here are intended to assist someone with vision impairment to function more safely and independently in their home.

For further assistance there are trained professionals including Vision Rehabilitation Therapists and Orientation & Mobility Specialists who provide more advanced and   individualized training to assist people with low vision or no   vision maximize their independence and quality of life.

Olmsted Center for Sight logo           Call us today: 716-882-1025