Vision Loss and Cooking

If you have a condition like cataracts, macular degeneration or glaucoma, you remember what it was like to have clearer vision. It may not be as easy to read food labels and recipe cards these days, but there is no reason to give up your culinary skills. You can still make succulent pasta dishes, fluffy biscuits and moist chocolate cakes.

The first step in making a delicious meal is to make sure that you are wearing eye glasses with an updated prescription or reading glasses with the correct strength. Then, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is my working space well-lit? If you have low vision or poor vision, you need brighter light to help you see. Make sure that your kitchen has plenty of light. Open shades and curtains, use bulbs with higher wattage, and turn all lights on in your kitchen during the entire cooking process.

2. Have I read through my recipe completely? Do not rely on memory for ingredients and instructions, even when making one of your favorite recipes. Read the entire recipe, take out all your ingredients, and follow step-by-step directions to the letter.

3. Am I paying attention to detail? U.S. Customary System measurements can be tricky. The abbreviation for a teaspoon (t) and tablespoon (T) look very similar, but getting those measurements confused can ruin any recipe. Especially when following a hand-written recipe, look carefully to distinguish between measurements so you achieve your desired outcome.

4. Have I set my kitchen timer? Using a kitchen timer will allow you to use your sense of hearing instead of just your sense of sight. Set your kitchen timer for a few minutes shorter than the cooking or baking time that the recipe requires so you can check on your dishes while they are cooking.

Following these steps will keep you happy and safe in the kitchen. Most importantly, visit your ophthalmologist every year for a comprehensive eye exam so he or she can monitor your vision needs and adjust your prescription as needed. Happy Cooking!

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