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She has almost perfect vision in one eye and 20/400 in other. Trying to help her regain ability to read, write, etc. She finds it very difficult to function with eyes so different. Better to cover up eye? Or is there another device that may help her?

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ferris 1
You are correct .
Actually my moms optomotrists recommended her to go to see a cataract specialist, but time lapsed and . By the time I figured out there was something different about her vision, not knowing about a cataract, when she went to a cataract specialist, the cataract specialist recommended she check with a glaucoma specialist. because of her delay, ignorance about not telling anybody, and waited to long . The pressure caused the low vision. it was a good thing it was checked and treated( surgery was necessary) otherwise she would have gone blind.
Equinox.
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I personally find pinhole glasses help to relax my eyes when I'm reading on the computer. Eye strain only makes vision worse, so using techniques to relax the eyes could be helpful.

I also recommend your mother try "palming". To do palming, she would first rub the palms of her hands together, to generate a little warmth. Then she would lightly place the palms of her hands (fingers together) over her eyes. It's all right if she uses a surface, like a table, or pillows to prop up her elbows while palming. If she can build up to two minutes of palming, she will probably find it to be relaxing to her eyes. And it's okay to build up to even longer times!

And of course there are eye exercises: moving the eyes in clockwise circles, counterclockwise circles, up and down, side to side.
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Thought I would clarify what Equinox was trying to say - ophthalmologist is a doctor who treats the eye and refers to specialists, glaucoma's peripheral vision is affected, and strabismus is a condition where one (or both) eyes is/are pointing either right or left slightly. Keeping our eyes well lubricated every day with drops (without thimerisol), drinking plenty of water plus diets high in beta carotene will go a long way toward healthy eyes.
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My mom has macular degeneration/ glaucoma . It's the glaucoma that has created the vision loss. Her opthomolo gist referred her to a low vision opthomologidts. She prescribed her prism glasses. Since then her vision hasn't changed. Eye drops helps with stabalizing glaucoma. Her perineal vision is very off. Her eyes are strabism. She's getting new glasses because she lost them.
Low vision dr specializes in the people with very low vision. I guess you have to ask many questions and figure out what works best.
Take care
Equinox
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If one eye is 20/20, the other 20/400, have her seen by a retinal specialist. She could have a detached retina (like I did) and have no other symptoms except being blurry and thinking I needed to change my prescription. Surgery was performed in 2010, and that eye is now almost 20/15.
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Mom kept seeing an eye doctor, but the neurologist read her CT and said vision would not improve due to damage in the brain. So if she's had any TIA's or a stroke, consult with a neuro man.
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When you cover one eye, you burden the other eye, and your brain gets confused. Get her prescription glasses. Magnifying glass comes in all sorts of sizes and shapes. You can have one that is letter size that enlarges a whole page. Check with the Blind Center in your city for help.
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Maybe pinhole glasses would help her. They have black opaque plastic lenses, and small holes are punched through these lenses. They are not very expensive. You can Google them to see how they work. I found that Amazon sells them at the cheapest price. In my experience, they make the vision sharper while you're wearing them. You want good (strong) lighting when wearing them. I don't recommend the "sunglasses" style, which has a clear reflective plastic over the lenses. That's because my old "sunglasses" had bigger holes, and that made them less effective. I remember reading about Eskimos that would use wooden goggles with slits to help them see across blinding white snow. Maybe the pinhole glasses work in much the same way.
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I'm not familiar with glaucoma or how the sight is affected as to seeing. My Mother had Macular Degeneration for probably 35 years, first dry, then wet. She got very bad but for years functioned okay on her own with aids. Do contact, as recommended, your state agency for the blind. They provided talking watch and CCTV for my Mother. Came in and assessed the house and made suggestions to help. Also the books on tape are great. Delivered free and returned free, along with the player.

One easy cheap thing is, if she has trouble seeing which button to push on something like a microwave, those little, sticky-backed rubber bumpers that are usually used on cabinet doors are good for marking things. They come in square and round shapes so, you can designate for different thing like off or on. Works on the other appliances also. I also bought paint pens at the hobby shop and marked things and words big for her.

But the very best thing I did was I got her into a trial study at NIH, National Institute of Health, in Bethesda, MD. It is about an hour and a half drive for us, but everything is totally free. The only thing you pay is your time. We went to that for 7 years, she got great treatment and they had machines that can see stuff in the eye and it was one of maybe only 6 machines in the US. Plus, they are usually ahead of the game on treatments. She didn't get any worse and in fact, regained about 4 lines of sight for a while. But then the disease progressed and it wasn't helping any more. I now go down to be in a different study because my Macula at 66 is very good, so I'm in the control group. I figure I need to give back for all the years of free treatment Mother got, plus it might help others in the future.

I don't know where you live but if you go to http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ and put in your disease, it will show all the studies going on in the United states. You can narrow it down to your area. Not only the government does these studies, universities and private companies also do them. I would only put one caveat out there. I didn't want my mother in a masked study where some got maybe a placebo because AMD is a progressive disease. I couldn't take the chance she get the placebo and the disease got worse. There was one at Hopkins at the time that was like that which is why we didn't participate there.

Don't know if you'll find any, but it's worth a shot. Good luck.
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I've sort of been where your mother is, but thankfully, I got better. Cataract surgery in one eye left me with two working eves that saw things totally different. I'd say the first thing to do is to agree with her that it sucks!

For me, covering the bad eye, especially while reading, would be the way to go. The bad eye still contributes vision for things like balance, but it interferes with close work. Not everyone can do that, but it's worth a try. Have her try it every day for a week or two, and she might be able to function better after a while.

If she wouldn't get insulted, joke about it. "Well, now you don't need to dust because you can't see the cobwebs!"

You may not be able to do much to fix things, but you can give her sympathy and love.
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Yes, My mom has macular degeneration too. She still has problems with accepting that her eyes are so bad. We also have library for the blind. They are wonderful and you can pick whatever category you would like. Mom and I listen to them together so it adds to our bonding time. I would follow up with a low-vision specialist too.
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We live in Iowa, the state has a Department for the Blind, they work with people who have low vision also. My mom has lost her central vision to Macular Degeneration. They provide books on tape to her, they sent out a vision/hearing specialist to demonstrate adaptive equipment when she complained that she couldn't hear well. These wonderful services were done at not charge to my mother or us. Please check with your retinal specialists and ask if your state has this resource.
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She has glaucoma in her bad eye and problems with the retina, so correction with a lens is not possible. She's seen two retinal specialists that have both said repair is not possible to a degree where she would even notice the difference. She is almost 89. I have had a suggestion to see a low-vision specialist to see what kind of help they might have for her. I will follow through with that. We are trying to convince her that her eye will not get better and she needs to deal with her eyes as they are now. Dementia is also an issue.
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Is the 20/400 vision eye correctable with a lens? If so, that would be what to do. If not she can temporarily cover the "bad" eye when reading, etc. But she would probably completely lose the vision in that eye if she covered it all -- or even nearly all -- the time.
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Depending on how old your mom is, and her willingness to pursue ways for her eyes to function, check and see if there's a low vision store in your area or you can order low vision products from a catalog. There are many useful items for low vision. Hope this is helpful.
Equinox
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