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Managing Medication

Accessing and Managing Medication with Blindness or Low Vision

Distinguishing medications can be challenging if you or someone you know is experiencing vision loss resulting in blindness or low vision. Medication mistakes because of vision loss can be dangerous and lead to significant problems. Developing organizational systems for medication helps individuals with blindness or low vision prevent errors and ensures safety.

The person with blindness or low vision understands their medications, dosages, uses, and related information. Ensuring that individuals can use their organization systems independently helps maintain compliance with medication routines.


One of the most important considerations regarding medications is how they are labeled. The labeling system should be consistent, easily readable, or accessible via alternative methods if necessary. These methods vary from quite simplistic to high-tech, depending on the individual’s preferences and needs.

Label Examples

  • Pharmacists can place large print labels containing letters or symbols on the bottle and corresponding lid
  • Pharmacists can create Braille labels for each medication package
  • Color coding may be appropriate for some individuals
  • Tactile symbols, which can be self-created or purchased, may be appropriate for some users
    • The symbols must be different enough not to confuse them with another label

Electronic Label Systems

Electronic labeling systems are another common technique many people find helpful in distinguishing and tracking prescription information in an accessible manner. Several systems are available. However, the most common method uses a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) sticker. You can find RFID stickers on the bottom of a bottle or side of the outer package of a prescription. The sticker helps a person with blindness or low vision access prescription information, including the prescription name, dosage, instructions, and related details. This information can be read in two ways, either by a stand-alone device or via a software application for non-visual accessibility. The pharmacist records the person’s prescription information on each RFID sticker. The RFID sticker allows the patient to read the prescription information upon receipt, alleviating wait time, potential confusion, or medication mix-ups.


Organization of medication is a critical component of medication management for individuals who are blind or have low vision. Creating a safe, consistent and efficient organization method allows the person to know where the proper medication is at all times. In addition, organization aids medication management, scheduling, and planning for dosages and refills.

Organization Considerations

  • Consider using flat bottom containers with high sides, avoiding loose bottles and boxes
  • Use contrasting color containers with high sides to ensure medications do not fall when transporting
  • Consider pill organizers or boxes that provide color contrast or other distinction, including large print or braille letter
  • Consider more prominent pill organizers or containers organized by different times of day (e.g., morning and evening) and days of the week
  • Electronic or auditory reminders can be set via phone or computer and include a simple reminder or detailed information about which medication to take and its dosage and timing. In addition, pharmacists may add additional information such as medication location or instructions
  • Stand-alone medication dispenser systems that pharmacists can preload may be appropriate for some people
    • These systems can also alert family or medical providers regarding dosing compliance


Medication compliance is a significant concern, especially for people with visual conditions that may fluctuate with certain medications or those who have additional disabilities that require strict regimens. However, individuals can achieve and/or maintain compliance with appropriate labeling, organization techniques, and technologies such as electronic or auditory reminders, timers, or stand-alone medication dispensers.

Learning skills like accessing and managing medication regimens early in the rehabilitation process are essential daily living skills for people experiencing vision loss. Developing these skills and techniques encourages medication compliance and promotes the safe administration of medications. Proper training in these skills should come from blindness rehabilitation professionals cooperating with your medical care team to help achieve independence in the area.

Contact us if you have questions or would like to receive more information about accessing and managing medication with blindness or low vision.