Low Vision Devices
Low Vision is a term to describe a variety of visual impairments caused by retinitis-pigmentosa, tunnel vision or macular degeneration. People with low vision find it difficult to read, and many give up reading altogether. However, with the help of a number of low vision aids, reading can become rewarding and fun again.
Reading Glasses: Many people adopt “readers” when they start having trouble with near vision sometime in their 40’s. But for people with low vision, special readers can be found in high-powered single vision or bifocal designs. Once the wearer gets used to these stronger reading glasses (the reading material has to be positioned closer to your face), they can read small print successfully.
Magnifiers: These are the most affordable options, and some are illuminated, which helps improve the visibility of the print. You can also find magnifiers that are hand-held, attached to a band that hangs around your neck or mounted on an adjustable stand.
Reading telescopes: Hand-held or mounted on the lenses of your eyeglasses, these devices provide high magnification that allow you to view reading material from a normal distance. These devices require some training to use properly.
Video magnifiers: These camera lenses on your desktop magnify images and display them on a video monitor or computer screen. You can sit as close to the screen as you want to and can adjust things like magnification power, brightness, contrast and color.
Portable electronic magnifiers: Resembling an IPad, these devices are held in front of your reading material. A magnified view appears on the screen.
The right device for you and your situation will depend on your lifestyle, degree of vision impairment and your individual needs. It is always recommended that you consult with your eye doctor, because some of these devices require prescriptions and your doctor can be an excellent resource to help you choose between options.