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Low vision aids will improve your vision and life

by John Doe
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Reading is not one of the easiest things for people with visual impairments. More often than not, many people give up reading entirely because reading used to be an enjoyable and effortless activity but now it requires a lot of thought and preparation. Reading used to be fun but now is just hard.

What is Low vision?

Low vision is a type of vision loss that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. It’s more accurate to refer to it as a loss of sight, because there is still some sight, and sometimes it can be improved with the use of visual aids.

 

Some people have low vision, which is a result of different degrees of sight loss, anywhere from blurry spots to poor night vision. According to the American Optometric Association, two categories of low vision are mentioned:

 

“Partially sighted”: the person has visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200 with conventional prescription lenses.

“Legally blind”: the person has had no better than 20/200 with conventional correction and/or a restricted field of vision less than 20 degrees wide.




Some people might say that their eyesight just isn’t what it used to be, but for others, their world has become significantly more limited. Let’s explore some of the people in these two groups and take a closer look at what each one faces every day.

What is Low vision?

Low vision is a type of vision loss that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. It’s more accurate to refer to it as a loss of sight, because there is still some sight, and sometimes it can be improved with the use of visual aids.

 

Some people have low vision, which is a result of different degrees of sight loss, anywhere from blurry spots to poor night vision. According to the American Optometric Association, two categories of low vision are mentioned:

 

“Partially sighted”: the person has visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200 with conventional prescription lenses.

“Legally blind”: the person has had no better than 20/200 with conventional correction and/or a restricted field of vision less than 20 degrees wide.

 

Some people might say that their eyesight just isn’t what it used to be, but for others, their world has become significantly more limited. Let’s explore some of the people in these two groups and take a closer look at what each one faces every day.

Low vision devices types

Here are some examples of devices you can use to help read if you have low vision – those with macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, tunnel vision, or other low vision conditions.

Magnifiers

Good, affordable magnifiers are easy to find and often come with features such as LED lighting to make the print even clearer and readable. You can also purchase magnifiers that are mounted on adjustable stands or supported by a band so they hang around your neck when not in use.

Using reading glasses

There are special high-power reading glasses that can help someone with low vision read the small print. These are usually single-vision glasses or bifocals. Using these stronger than normal reading glasses takes some practice, but a low vision specialist can demonstrate how to use them.

Reading magnifiers

Low-vision devices that are mounted to the lenses of eyeglasses, these magnifiers often use high magnification while allowing the wearer to view reading material from a normal distance. A person would need some training to use them properly, but they can be helpful if you have low vision when it comes to reading. Hand-held magnifiers also are available.



Video magnifiers

Technology can help with many different things, such as video magnifiers. This desktop device displays an enlarged screen so a person can see what they’re looking at. You can work as close to it as you need and be able to adjust the magnification, brightness, contrast, and color to what you prefer.

Portable electronic devices

Portable electronic devices for magnifying and viewing material are now also available. Some of these devices resemble an iPad or other lightweight tablet and can be held in front of reading material to create a magnified view on the LED screen.

Text-to-voice devices

Text-to-voice devices are devices that are capable of converting text to speech. There’s a range of such devices, like the OrCam Read, which is capable of reading text from books, anything displayed on a phone or computer monitor, and more. It can then convert that text to a computer voice.

Conclusion

Some low-vision devices, which are often custom-made based on your degree of vision impairment, require a prescription from your low vision specialist. Others products that don’t require a prescription, like magnifiers, may not work best for certain people depending on their activity and impairment.

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