Microwave Ovens: A Low Vision Cooking Aid

Microwaves: A Low Vision Cooking Aid

There are lots of ways to stay independent in the kitchen when you have low vision.  Using safe cooking techniques and no mess, uncomplicated ways to cook, such as the microwave, gives you the freedom to prepare more meals than you might think possible.

Safe Cooking Techniques

Avoiding burns is a primary concern when working in a kitchen. If you have low vision, it’s important to reduce the chance accidentally of touching or coming in contact with hot surfaces by adjusting your environment. Roll up your sleeves to keep them from dangling over hot burners. Put pots and pans on the burner before turning it on and then wait until it is turned off before removing them. Pull oven racks out to help you get to your food. Reaching into the oven can be dangerous.

Cuts are another potential hazard. When possible, use vegetable peelers instead of knives.  If you have to cut or chop, use cutting boards that contrast with your foods. Light foods can go on dark boards and dark foods on light boards. This will help you be able to tell where the item is. Don’t touch your knife to find the cutting edge. Place it on the cutting board surface and try to rock it back and forth. The cutting edge should rock while the blunt edge should feel completely straight.

Using Tactile and Talking Microwaves

Eliminate most of your burn risk and much of your prep mess by using microwaves. There are a couple of different options for adapting this kitchen appliance.

Some microwaves come with tactile buttons already built in. Our stainless steel microwave with tactile buttons has buttons with their own distinct markings. These include Pizza, Potato, Frozen Dinner, and Reheat. Tactile symbols also mark buttons for Power Level, Timer, Cook, and Reset, among others.

If you already have a microwave you love, and you want to save a little money by doing your own modifications, you can buy tactile overlay stickers for just a few dollars. These stickers come in shapes that represent food types as well as common function symbols, such as a sideways triangle for the “start” button.

If you need even more support, a talking microwave might be exactly what you want. Our Magic Chef microwave has been designed to speak the function of each button when you give it a quick push. No more guessing or trying to identify shapes.

Adapting Recipes for The Microwave

If you are afraid that avoiding the stove or oven means you’ll miss out on some of your favorite dishes, you might be surprised to find out what you can make in a microwave.  A quick Google search of “microwave cooking recipes” will return a lot of results for tasty, elegant meals.

If you are looking for a specific adaptation, try searching the name of your favorite dish with “in the microwave” added as a search term.  Some reputable sites that have tried and tested recipes include:


ILA has a variety of aids to help you live an active, independent lifestyle. For more low vision cooking aids, check out our Cooking Items here.