What are low vision aids?
They are devices that can be used to improve the quality of vision. Some low vision aids can help you to do lots of useful things close-up, like reading or seeing control buttons appliances. There are also other low vision aids which can also be useful for seeing things which are far away, like road signs or looking at a view.
If you have found a problem with everyday tasks such as reading a price tag, viewing the TV schedule, seeing the controls on the cooker or watching TV, then using a magnifier can help in making the print or object large enough to see.
Magnifiers have different strengths and designs so they can be used for different things. They vary based on their power, lens type and design purpose.
On the whole, the larger the size of the magnifier, the weaker it will be. More powerful magnifiers are smaller and have to be held close to your eye and what you want to look at. With stronger magnifiers, which are smaller, you might not be able to see as much at once and will only be able to read parts of words rather than whole words or sentences.
Whilst a magnifier’s power can be measured in a number of ways, the most common method is the “times magnification”. Given as a number e.g.” 3x” it describes how many times larger an object will appear when viewed through the magnifier than with the normal eye. So a magnifier with a 3x magnification will make objects appear 3 times larger than without the magnifier.
Magnifiers can be optical or video based:
Optical magnifiers include:
- Hand-held magnifiers
- Dome or bar magnifiers
- Stand magnifiers
- Magnifying spectacles and spectacle mounted magnifiers
- Telescopes and Binoculars
They are electronic devices that can be hand-held or plug into a TV or computer monitor. They operate as a Closed Circuit Television using a camera to feed the picture to the display device. They are much for powerful than optical magnifiers and can offer multiple magnifications on the same device.
Where can I get low vision aids?
An optometrist or low vision specialist can assess the degree and type of vision loss you have and advise on the appropriate low vision aids which will help your vision. Vision Enhancers is able to provide a full collection of optical vision aid products together with guidance to help you in choosing and using devices to meet your specific needs. Some vision aids will be available from your local low vision service so that you can try them at home. The types of aid available will depend on the product range held by the particular clinic.