Here’s a round-up of a few low vision tools you could find at your local craft store, drug store, dollar store, or might already having lying around your home.

Rubber band: There is a good chance you have a junk drawer with a stray rubber band, or two, in it. Put those rubber bands to work by using them to distinguish between two similar bottles or containers without having to read the label. Shampoo and conditioner from the same brand sometimes have identical bottles, distinguish your shampoo by placing a rubber band around it. Differentiate between your raspberry jam and strawberry jam by placing a rubber band around the strawberry.

Safety pin: Safety pins are a great way to distinguish between two like colors when selecting clothing. If it’s easy to mix up navy and black, place a small safety pin on all of your black clothing and use your sense of touch and memory to choose the black sweater. The safety pin can stay on the garment and go through the wash.

Puffy paint: While bump dots will always be the best tactile marking, puffy fabric paint from the craft store is a good alternative. It even works better for remote controls and cordless phones. A small dot of puffy paint can be applied to any button that is difficult to identify and left to dry overnight. Don’t forget to choose a high contrast color!

Black serving tray: If pills slip through your fingers or roll off your table when you’re sorting your weekly medication, pick up a cheap plastic serving tray from the dollar story. Sort your pills over a dark colored tray with sides to prevent those loose pills from rolling and to give yourself the best contrast for finding any dropped medication.

Ruler: A ruler is a great tool for reading or writing. Place one under the line of text you are reading to help stay on the correct line as your eyes scan from left to right. Or place the ruler as a guide when writing a letter, list, or note. If it’s placed right above the area where you are writing and you start to drift up, the ruler will block the drift.

Flashlight: That same junk drawer might also have an old flashlight rattling around in it. Flashlights are a great source of portable task-lighting. Store one in your laundry room for assistance with setting the washer and dryer. Or carry a flashlight with you to a restaurant to light up the menu or your plate.

Pens: The type of pen you use matters, and we have two favorite types of pens at Spectrios: felt-tip and gel pens. Gel pens are much better than traditional ballpoint pens for several reasons. They require less pressure while writing, have ink that is blacker, and can be purchased with higher thicknesses. Our favorite gel pens are: the S-gel by Sharpie, the Uni-ball, or the G2 by Pilot. Make sure to buy the thicker versions, 07 or 10 gauge. We also like felt-tip pens, which write more like markers but don’t usually bleed through the paper. Try a Papermate Flair or a Pilot Bravo in black for the thickest of writing tools.

For more help with re-purposing household items as low vision tools set up an appointment with Katrina by calling 630-690-7115.