Visual aids

More about visual impairment

Low vision is significant vision impairment that usually results from serious eye disease or an injury. The vision loss, which is characterized by either reduced visual acuity or reduced field of view, cannot be fully corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery. Low vision can affect both children and adults, but is more common in the elderly, who are at greater risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, which are some of the most common causes of the condition. Other causes of low vision include congenital eye diseases, amblyopia, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa.

Millions of people worldwide experience symptoms of low vision. With significant vision loss it can become challenging to complete common daily tasks. However, through the use of visual aids they are able successfully function with the remaining vision available to them. This often involves the use of magnifiers, telescopes and other tools that enlarge the images of objects to make them more visible. Other visual aids reduce glare and enhance contrast.

Finding the right visual aid is a matter of consulting with a professional and experimenting with what works for you and your daily needs.

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Magnifiers

There is a vast selection of magnifiers available, ranging from hand-held to stand magnifiers. Hand-held magnifiers are among the most affordable low vision devices for reading, and some are illuminated to make print even more visible. Other magnifiers include those that are mounted on height-adjustable stands or supported by a band that hangs from your neck are also an option. Magnifiers are commonly used for close-up, detail viewing, such as reading, writing, and sewing.

Bioptics

Bioptic telescopes are often attached to regular eyeglasses and can be prescribed for one or both eyes. They provide high magnification and are especially helpful for seeing at a distance, for viewing television, movies and theatre, while still allowing the wearer to view reading material from a normal distance. Some training is needed to use these devices properly, but most users find them to be extremely helpful. Hand-held versions also are available.

Portable (Electronic) Magnifiers

A digital magnifier is a device that resembles an iPad or other lightweight tablet computer. These devices use a camera on the underside to capture an image of text, pictures, or other items, and a monitor on the top side to display a magnified view of the image. They can be used anywhere in the home, and can also be taken out to a restaurant, store, church, or elsewhere.

Contrast Enhancing (Glasses)/(Tints)

Loss of contrast sensitivity may occur with ageing or more serious health issues such as glaucoma, AMD, cataracts or diabetic retinopathy. Eyewear with specially tinted lenses can help improve contrast. Choosing a suitable filter is very beneficial as it reduces eye strain, enhances clarity of vision and contrast, and increases your visual comfort.

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