A woman looks at her reflection in the mirror next to her color coordinated closet.

Sometimes It’s The Little Things That Matter

Thyroid eye disease (TED) has a huge impact on my life physically, emotionally, socially, and financially. But it has also necessitated small changes and those small changes help me cope with my ever-changing TED journey.

How TED impacts my vision

Since my TED diagnosis in 2019 I have had multiple periods of better vision and poor vision. There have been very bad times when I could not see my own face, times when I could not drive, and when I was even reluctant to walk out my own front door without a guiding hand. Then there were other periods when even though I could do all those things I still planned my outings so I did not drive west at sunset.

TED has been a roller coaster ride and I never know where the next stop will be. Unfortunately, I am still riding. I have found that if I make changes to my environment when my vision is in a good phase, I am better able to cope with periods when it is not. It is still hard, but being able to be more independent makes me feel stronger.

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Making accommodations to make living with thyroid eye disease more manageable

Lighting

As I write this, it is the start of autumn and it has been raining for days. I find it hard to see in low light conditions. I have made many accommodations to deal with the upcoming fall and winter darkness. Wherever I sit to read or work has much brighter light. I have changed lightbulbs and in some cases lamps and overhead light fixtures to accomplish this. I often have most lights on in my home. Even my kitchen preparation area has under the counter lighting that is always on whenever a knife comes out!

Color coding and simplifying

My clothes are arranged by color. Black pants never get hung up next to blue ones and the only dark socks I wear are black. It is just easier this way.

Making a list

I recently got a luggage tracker tag. When I unpacked after my last vacation I debated where to put that tag so I would remember it. I now keep a list of where I put “odds and ends” because I know if my vision deteriorates, I will not be able to find various things by looking around. I use that list for many items at this point in my TED journey.

Using my phone

Spending time in the garden is one of my favorite hobbies. I like planting and pruning, and yes, even weeding. Since TED it has been hard. If it is a very sunny day, I cannot always see. If it is a very cloudy day I cannot always see. If there are too many shadows or the plants are too dense, I find it hard to do the needed chores. Taking pictures of my garden has helped. I do not have to see clearly to take a picture. My phone focuses and corrects for color. I can look at the details on my screen rather than in person.

Making small changes

Now when I shop for a purse or tote bag, I make sure the lining is a light color. I recently lined the inside of my jewelry box with white felt to cover the black felt that hid everything. It just makes my life a little easier.

In truth, even on my best days my vision is not as good as it was before I was diagnosed with TED. But these small accommodations help me cope every day and will make a big difference if my vision deteriorates. Making my life easier and a little less stressful is just a good idea!

Have you made simple accommodations in your home and life that help you? What are they? Share with us in the comments below.

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