Considerations for Meeting Needs of Persons with Vision Loss
To best meet the needs of persons with vision loss, consider:
- Who will benefit from large-print prescription labels and large-print consumer medication information.
- Who may require enhanced magnification.
- Who are braille readers.
- Who has access to Internet resources.
- Who has access to assistive technology, such as audible prescription label readers, recorders, or scanners.
- Who has other impairments in addition to vision loss, such as cognition, physical function, or hearing, which may affect the ability to access prescription information or manage medications.
- Who may require assistance of another person to manage medications.
General Recommendations for Prescription Labels
- Use the largest font size label will allow.
- Use sans serif, standard font (not narrow or condensed), such as Arial, Verdana, or APHontTM. APHontTM was developed specifically for low vision readers and embodies characteristics that have been shown to enhance reading speed, comprehension, and comfort for large print users. Available free at www.aph.org/products/aphont.html.
- Use upper and lower case, not ALL CAPS.
- Use bold typeface for labels. Do not use italic, oblique, or condensed type.
- Use non-gloss paper and label stock. Do not cover label with tape.
- When affixing labels to a manufacturer-supplied bottle, do not cover medication name and strength on original label.
- Provide written description of medication and picture of medication, if possible. In the alternative, refer patient to Web sites that provide pictures of medications, such as
www.mypillbox.org/mypillbox.php; www.healthline.com; www.webmd.com.
- If the pharmacy offers prescription label information in large print, this should be prominently posted at the prescription counter or communicated directly to each patient.
Specific Recommendations for Large-Print Prescription and Auxiliary Labels
In addition to the General Recommendations for Prescription Labels, the Advisory Board recommends that a minimum of 18-point type be used for people with vision loss.
The Advisory Board recognizes that standard prescription label size will not accommodate the required labeling information in 18-point type. Therefore, the Advisory Board recommends that pharmacies:
- Provide "duplicate labels" (prescription and auxiliary) printed in a minimum of 18-point type on paper stock.
- If pictograms are used, these should also be provided in "large print" format and high contrast (saturated black on white background).
- The "duplicate labels" should be matched in some way to the prescription container, such as by using a large-print number or colored sticker on both the duplicate label and the corresponding medication container.
Specific Recommendations for Consumer Medication Information
- All information required to take a medication correctly and safely should be provided verbally and in accessible format directly to every patient with vision loss, including precautions and information about medication preparation and/or storage.
- Print drug monographs in minimum 18-point type.
- Provide drug monographs in electronic format if patient has computer access.
- Refer patients to specific consumer medication information Web sites if patient has Internet access.
- Provide consumer medication information in braille or refer to service that provides braille "translation" for individuals who can read braille.