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Managing Prescription Medications

Medication Management

Safely and effectively managing your medications is critical to your overall health and well-being. Modern medicine has improved our quality of life and can help us live longer, healthier lives. However, people with low vision need to be careful when using medications, especially if they are taking several different drugs.

According to a study of older adults taking five or more medications, more than one out of every three people reported having a bad reaction to at least one of their medicines.

Regardless of your age and the medication you use, it is important to go to all of your medical appointments and to talk to your healthcare providers about your medical conditions, the medicines you take, and any health concerns you have. Whenever you receive a new prescription, consider asking the following questions of your doctor or pharmacist:

  • What is the name of the medication?
  • What is the medication supposed to do?
  • How many times a day should I take the medication?
  • For how long should I take it?
  • When will the medication begin to work and how can I tell?
  • Should I take the medication with food or water?
  • Will I need any testing to monitor the effects of the medication?
  • Are there foods, drinks, other medications, or herbal supplements I should avoid when taking this medicine?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • What should I do if I get side effects?
  • What should I do if I miss or forget to take a dose?
  • Is there a less expensive or generic alternative for the medication?

If you or a loved one has low vision, it’s important to develop a safe, effective system for organizing and identifying your prescription and over-the-counter medications—what they are, the prescribed or recommended dosage, and how often you need to take them. Consider using these tips for managing your medications to continue to live an independent and healthy lifestyle:

Blister pack
Blister pack
  1. Ask your pharmacist to print an additional label with larger print that you can easily see.
    • Mark your medication bottles with large-print labels, tactile dots, rubber bands, or Braille.
    • Ask your pharmacist to place your medication in a blister pack to help keep them organized.
    • Make sure that you don’t place your label over the existing one, in case someone else has to read it.
  2. Use talking medication identifiers if large-print labels don’t work for you.
  3. Use a tray with good color contrast to help you see your pills and keep them from falling on the floor if dropped.
  4. Place a light close to the labels you are trying to see.
  5. Use a checklist to help you track your daily medications and the proper dosage for each.
For more information and suggestions to help you manage your medications, visit the following websites:



Department of Health and Human Services NIH, the National Institutes of Health USA.gov