Low Vision Devices

A variety of rehabilitation options help people with low vision live and work more effectively, efficiently and safely. Most people with low vision can benefit from one or more treatment options. Unfortunately, only about 20 to 25 percent of people who could benefit from these treatment options have seen a low-vision optometrist.

The more commonly prescribed devices are:

  • Spectacle-mounted magnifiers. A magnifying lens is mounted in spectacles (this type of system is called a microscope) or on a special headband. Both hands are then free for close-up tasks, such as reading.
  • Handheld or spectacle-mounted telescopes. These miniature telescopes are useful for seeing longer distances, such as across the room to watch television. They can also be modified for near tasks, such as reading.
  • Handheld and stand magnifiers. These are convenient for quick reading of things like price tags, labels and instrument dials. Both types can include lights.
  • Video magnification. Table-top (closed-circuit television) or head-mounted systems enlarge reading material on a video display. Some systems can be used for distance viewing. These are portable systems, and some can be used with a computer or monitor. Image brightness, image size, contrast, foreground/background color and illumination are customizable.

Numerous other products can assist people with vision impairment. These include large-type books, magazines, and newspapers; books on tape; talking wristwatches; self-threading needles; and more.

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