Low Vision Optical and Non Optical Devices

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Magnifiers and telescopes are useful optical low vision devices that help those with poor sight see objects up close, while even sighted people rely on such devices from time to time, such as when reading directions written in small print or watching sporting events on television.

Non-optical low vision devices alter environmental perception by increasing illumination and contrast. Examples include lighting, reading stands and bold-lined paper.

Magnifying Glasses

Reading can be one of the most difficult activities for those living with low vision. Even something as mundane as reading a newspaper may become difficult or impossible if macular degeneration, tunnel vision, or other eye conditions limit vision. At Feinbloom Center for Low Vision we offer various optical and non optical devices designed to make reading easier for our clients.

Optic low vision devices employ lenses to magnify objects or print so that they appear larger, providing relief to any areas of vision loss by enabling healthy parts of the retina to capture images more readily and provide clearer visual images. Magnifiers come in hand-held or stand models and range in magnification strength from 2X-15X; many come equipped with illumination for improved clarity of image clarity; they can even help those suffering from tremors or limited hand use due to stroke recover faster from visual impairment.

Magnifiers come in various forms, from handheld magnifiers to clip-on loupes attached to glasses. Loupes provide an efficient way to magnify text or small print without needing to hold a handheld magnifier in position – and are especially beneficial to people suffering from macular degeneration where only one eye’s image remains clear.

Other low vision optical devices available to low vision individuals include reading telescopes mounted onto eyeglass lenses for distance viewing and designed to be stronger than standard reading glasses. Reading telescopes come in both single-vision and bifocal designs; some models even include tinted lenses that reduce glare.

Low vision non-optical devices range from simple talking watches and calculators to more complex devices that enable accessing electronic information, so it is essential for low vision specialists to stay abreast of technological advancements and provide their patients with as many choices as possible.

Electronic low vision aids go beyond magnifiers and other optical devices to enlarge images on a monitor, providing near and distance focus for reading, watching television or other tasks requiring near and distance focus. There are portable as well as desktop models that include cameras, monitors and an XY reading table combined in one unit.

Reading Telescopes

Reading telescopes provide an alternative to magnifying glasses that allows those with low vision to regain the ability to read printed text without straining their eyes. Unlike handheld magnifiers that require users to maintain a set distance from pages, telescopic devices allow individuals to tailor their viewing experience by adjusting the focus of the lens and reading comfortably without straining their eyes.

Reading telescopes are lightweight devices designed for portability. Their lightweight construction makes them simple to transport between reading environments. Furthermore, reading telescopes feature additional illumination through an integrated light, offering additional clarity for improved reading experience.

Optic and non optical devices can assist children with low vision with many activities, from classroom learning to physical education classes and play activities. They can enlarge text, foster writing skills and promote independence and inclusion.

Children with visual impairments need to understand how their optical and non-optical devices function so they can use them independently and effectively, eliminating feelings of frustration and failure associated with vision loss, as well as any additional needs for assistance from others in order to complete daily tasks.

Of the many non optical low vision devices currently available, it is vital that they are tailored specifically to a person’s visual needs and environment. This includes considering magnification level, field of view and mounting position of devices as well as any effects of glare which could become disabling factors in certain visual impairments – antireflective lenses and absorptive filters are often recommended to combat it.

Visit a low vision resource center to gain an understanding of non-optical devices that may assist you with daily living, like typoscopes. A certified low vision specialist will walk you through each option available and show how you can create one at home yourself; such as the use of dark cardboard cut out with an oval slot – often called typoscopes – which frames text without creating glare in white spaces surrounding text.

Talking Watches

If your child struggles to read a standard clock, he or she could benefit from using a talking watch. This device announces the current time, date, day of week and alarm status by pressing a button; using tiny voice chips that produce synthesized natural-sounding speech synthesised from tiny voice chips for this information delivery. Talking watches also serve as audible alarms or can assist those with spatial awareness issues by providing audible alarms; darth Vader clocks with talking features are popular choices while calculators with talking features are another popular style or theme – Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper even speaks out the current time on an hourly basis with quotes from Jesus!

Children who are blind or visually impaired often unwittingly utilize optical devices without realizing it. Fully sighted people use magnifiers and binoculars to read small print, while binoculars provide clear views of distant objects. Non-optical electronic devices which could assist a child with low vision include illumination devices like lamps and reading stands; check writing guides; high contrast paper/bold line papers/check writing stands/check writing stands; needle threaders; large print books; telephone dials with large watch faces/telephone dials/enlarged watch faces/speaking appliances like microwaves/refrigerators etc.

Many affordable eye devices are now widely available from retail stores. Your child’s low vision specialist or Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) should be knowledgeable of these devices and be able to recommend the best options. If your prescription includes an optical device with specific model specifications, your school district may provide training on its use; otherwise your O&M instructor should be able to instruct them accordingly.

Children should receive a thorough low vision examination and regular follow up. A TVI or O&M instructor trained to assess your child’s vision should provide valuable feedback about non-optical devices that could aid independence by increasing illumination, contrast or providing audible/tactile feedback. They could also suggest retail outlets for new electronic devices designed to promote independence by altering environmental perception through enhanced illumination or contrast or audible/tactile feedback systems.

Talking Calculators

As technology evolves, more assistive technologies have become available to those with low vision. Low tech devices such as eyeglasses and magnifying aids that magnify text or images may be effective; more complex ones may need further evaluation in order to meet individual needs effectively.

An effective clinical assessment for low vision involves gathering a detailed history, including medical, drug, work, social and family details before performing a meticulous refraction to establish maximum visual acuity. Following this procedure, additional tests are run to establish what level of vision loss there is and which AT device(s) might help, such as reading glasses, optical or electronic magnifiers, telemicroscopes or CCTV (closed circuit television systems).

Talking calculators are one of the most versatile low vision non optical devices, announcing each number or calculation result with a clear voice announcement. This feature makes these devices especially helpful for blind and visually impaired students as well as second language learners.

When selecting a talking calculator, it is essential that it has large keys and high contrast numbers. Furthermore, it should include the capability of recording your voice as well as that of another individual to ensure an aesthetically pleasing sound quality and natural accent use of the calculator by its users.

Talking calculators can help your students develop monitoring skills by vocalizing both button presses and their responses – giving you a way to check and transfer correct answers onto paper quickly and accurately.

Calculators designed specifically to help students with learning disabilities who struggle with both math and writing can be especially beneficial, saving valuable classroom time by eliminating the need for math tutors while freeing the student to focus on other subjects more fully. Thanks to electronic devices, low vision non optical AT devices now include advanced features like text-to-speech capabilities as well as expanded file formats.

About the Author:
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Alexander Suprun

Alex started his first web marketing campaign in 1997 and continues harvesting this fruitful field today. He helped many startups and well-established companies to grow to the next level by applying innovative inbound marketing strategies. For the past 26 years, Alex has served over a hundred clients worldwide in all aspects of digital marketing and communications. Additionally, Alex is an expert researcher in healthcare, vision, macular degeneration, natural therapy, and microcurrent devices. His passion lies in developing medical devices to combat various ailments, showcasing his commitment to innovation in healthcare.


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