Low Vision Devices

A variety of rehabilitation options help people with low vision live and work independently, efficiently and safely. Vision Rehabilitation can vastly improve the quality of life. Most people with low vision can benefit from one or more treatment options. Unfortunately, only about 20 to 25% of people who could benefit from these treatment options have seen a low-vision doctor of optometry.

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. Bioptic telescopes can be used for driving in most states.

  • Handheld and stand magnifiers. These are optical magnifiers that are convenient for quick reading of things like price tags, labels and instrument dials. Both types can include lights.

  • Electronic (video) magnification. Portable, tabletop or head-mounted systems provide magnification of images both at distance and near. Electronic magnification allows for variable levels of magnification, adjustment of image brightness, contrast and change of foreground/background.

  • Assistive Technology.  Accessibility features on smartphones and computers allow people with visual impairment to full access to their technology. There are all screen readers/speech output and software enlargement programs.

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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