Vision loss with lupus – achieving goals with OT support

Mark was a successful businessman and had his own company when he suffered sudden vision loss with lupus (link opens in new window).

People with lupus can get retinal vasculitis, a rare symptom which limits the blood supply to the retina, and can have significant effect on vision. In Mark’s case, he lost his central vision.

Occupational therapist sits next to Keearny around a wooden table. He's looking at a large print keyboard with yellow keys.
Mark has been discovering how assistive technology can help him at home

“I was 41 years old and very independent with a young family when I lost my sight in a matter of hours.”

Mark – VisAbility client

Mark explains how the last two years have been challenging.

“I went through a period of adjustment. I had to stop working and adapt to my vision loss, but with VisAbility’s help, I’m finding my confidence again.”

Occupational Therapist Keearny has been helping Mark to do the things he wants to do. He’s been learning about assistive technology, including Voice Assist on the iPhone and its accessibility functions.

“I miss my old life meeting clients, but I want to get my health back and make personal achievements,” Mark explains.

As an occupational therapist Keearny has spoken to Mark about the importance of the five B’s to help him day-to-day. Namely:

  • Bigger. Bigger is better, so encouraging Mark to move close to an object or use magnifiers. Enlarging the text on your phone or computer and reading large print is preferable and sitting closer to a television.
  • Brighter. Lighting can make a dramatic difference. Task lighting will focus bright light on a specific area, so it’s perfect for reading instructions.
  • Bolder. Bolder text is easier to read, so people with low vision should use thick marker pens.
  • Being organised. Keeping items in similar locations to locate them easily and avoid obstacles in walk ways. Maintaining routines assists to reduce memory loading.
  • Beyond vision. Using other senses such as hearing, smell and taste to assist with identifying things such as differing flavours, the smell of smoke or noise of passing traffic.

Mark enjoys gardening and has joined a local sailing group in South Perth, a sport he enjoyed as youngster.

“I go out every Wednesday on a boat with a group of sighted people. It’s tricky to see the instruments, but it’s lovely gliding through the water. I have learned to feel my way around the yacht and am making good progress.”

Despite Mark’s vision loss with lupus, he is setting himself goals and adapting to change. He’s receiving occupational therapy support so he can feel more confident in the kitchen.

“I was always the cook in the house so I’m regaining confidence to make meals again. I was in the middle of studying for a Masters in Finance when I lost my sight, so I’d like to be able to return to that as well,” he explains.

Mark’s wife and his two children have been very supportive as he adjusts to his new life, and he’s full of praise for VisAbility.

“The level of detail I’ve received from VisAbility has been fantastic. They’ve listened to me to discover what I’ve wanted to achieve. I am very grateful for Keearny’s assistance.”

Mark – VisAbility client

We have a team of occupational therapists empowering individuals and families to build resilience and independence. They can tailor support to give you the knowledge, skills and confidence you need to live life to the full. Your life, your way to do everyday tasks that are meaningful to you. Contact us for more.