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NARRATOR 1: Three adults eating at the dining room table.

NARRATOR 2: Enjoying your home is one of life’s great joys. However, if you’re losing your sight, once familiar surroundings can prove frightening or foreign. In this section, we are going to show you how simple, inexpensive changes around your house can help you feel safer and more confident.

One of the most effective tools is the use of contrasting colors and textures. Let’s look at an example. Finding the light switch when entering or leaving a room is a very common problem. Look at how difficult it is to locate this white switch on this white wall. Everything blends in. But add contrasting colors, and look what happens. The white light switch stands out against the background of the dark plate. It’s now much easier to use your usable vision to find the switch and flick it on or off.

The same is true for drawers and cabinets. Select dark-colored pulls for light surfaces and light-colored pulls for dark surfaces. For inside the cabinets, use a darker drawer liner against the back of the cabinet. You can see how clearly these white dishes stand out.

This clock with an oversized face can help you tell time easier. And don’t forget contrasting textures, too. The difference between tile, carpet and wood is easy to distinguish both visually and by feel. Awareness of these tactile differences can help determine which room you’re entering or exiting and what to expect. Contrasting textures can be applied to more than just floors. For those who like to cook, you can use raised dots to mark key points on stovetop knobs and oven controls. There’s no limit to where and how contrasting colors and textures can be applied.

If there’s one thing that makes a significant difference around the house it’s adequate lighting. Find the type of lighting most appropriate for your condition and you’ll find that all kinds of activities in every room in the house become much easier. Sufficient overhead lighting is key. But lights can be placed almost anywhere, including inside cabinets and even under them, as seen here. And notice the use of directed lighting for specific tasks. You can adjust the light to maximize your usable vision and reduce glare. The right lighting makes everything, from your favorite hobbies to preparing meals and even paying bills much more enjoyable and accessible.

These adaptations are simple, inexpensive, and widely available at local stores. Most important, they can greatly improve your independence.