How Well Are You Adapting?

A personal needs-assessment survey for people living with low vision or blindness.

How can you tell if you are adapting as well as possible to the most important facets of your everyday life? 

As your vision declines, you have basically two options. You can allow yourself to become handicapped or you can learn ways to deal with the inevitable issues. By actively controlling your daily environment, you can reduce your challenges to manageable levels.

You had little choice when it came to vision loss, but you do have choices when it comes to how you deal with it. This is called adaptability: your ability and willingness to change how you live your life.

Here is a private self-survey that will help you to score how you are doing so far. It is designed for people with corrected visual acuity of 20/70 or worse, but everyone can benefit from participating. The questions are drawn from everyday issues faced by visually impaired individuals, as determined by professionals and patients alike. For those who are taking this survey offline, select this link for a printable PDF version.


Respond by checking “Yes” or “No” to each question. If, however, you do not currently need a particular modification, respond “NA” (not applicable). Also respond “NA” if you cannot appropriately answer a question because of circumstances beyond your control (pandemic, physical incapability, lack of finances, etc.)

It is important that you respond honestly to all 53 questions and then follow the directions to calculate your adaptability score. Your score will provide a gauge of how well you are adapting, considering your personal situation and needs. A discussion of your result is provided.

Additionally, by selecting the links following most questions, you will find many helpful resources. This is information about which you might have been unaware, or which you might now consider if your vision declines further. These links will take you away from the survey, but you may return by using your “back button”. Please be aware that closing the survey page will erase all responses.

When finished, you might take comfort in knowing that you are doing as well as can be expected, or you may be encouraged to learn that more modifications can make your life easier. Your needs and goals are likely to change over time, so plan to re-visit this survey often to ensure that your score–and your confidence–remain as high as possible.

Keeping score by feel

Respondents who are taking this survey with the assistance of a reader (either human or electronic) may need an alternate method of keeping track of “Yes”, “No”, and “NA” responses. Here is a suggestion:

Playing cards may be placed into three separate stacks representing “Yes”, “No”, and “NA” for easy counting. M&Ms, beans, toothpicks, etc. can substitute for the cards.

Calculate your score

To calculate your adaptability score, divide the number of your “Yes” responses by the total of your combined “Yes” and “No” responses. “NA” responses may be ignored.

This score reflects how well you are managing your daily activities, home environment, health, diet, expectations, and social life. The score is expressed as a percentage (in decimal form) of “Yes” responses out of the those which pertain to your unique circumstances.

About your result

You are a model of adaptability. You have evidently been listening, reading, and complying with professional recommendations. You also obviously understand the importance of active partnerships with the doctors, specialists, and therapists whose efforts are helping you to maintain your independence and quality of life. Whatever your level of visual impairment, you are in a good place and can look forward to conquering the challenges that may lie ahead.

.66 – .99
Good for you. You are probably feeling pretty confident about maintaining your independence and handling the challenges of low vision. You might, however, want to take a look at the linked resources to learn about those modifications that could put the final shine on your adaptability. Sometimes all it takes is recognizing those action points and moving forward to keep the ground solid beneath your feet.

.33 – .65
You have made some good choices about necessary modifications, but there is plenty of room for more. Your diligence now will pay off in increased independence and self-confidence in performing your daily living activities. If your vision is approaching, or has reached, legal blindness and you haven’t already learned about low vision rehabilitation, check out the resource links or ask your doctor for a referral. Professional help can turn many of your “No” responses into “Yes” for a more independent future.

0 – .32
You have probably been feeling a little lost and maybe somewhat afraid right now. It will help you to learn about the many available opportunities for you to explore, either by contacting a reputable low vision organization or by obtaining the services of a low vision specialist or therapist through your eye care professional. The resource links will guide you to a great deal of information to get you started. You do not have to lose your independence, and you can do much to maintain your quality of life!