Most people are familiar with the concept of CCTV (closed-circuit television) as a security device. However, CCTV video magnifiers can also be a great aid to low vision patients.
CCTV magnifiers provide low vision assistance for patients with symptoms stemming from conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, cataracts, and other diseases or conditions which can cause low vision.
CCTV magnifiers come with many benefits, and provide a high degree of versatility to allow the user increased independence. All quality CCTV magnifiers are designed for ease of use, with tactile buttons and turn dials to make it easy for patients with near vision difficulty to operate.
CCTV magnifiers utilize a number of attributes to allow for easy positioning of the camera and viewing of an object. These include a mount arm that allows for steady and hands-free positioning, a monitor, lenses that can zoom in to magnification levels as high as 82x, and a variety of viewing modes with lighting, color, and contrast options to allow the user to select the optimal assistance for the task at hand. Additionally, many models include a viewing platform, to allow for easy positioning of an item, such as a book, to be magnified by the CCTV magnifier.
These devices allow the user to completely control the display’s focus, magnification, and other settings so that the real-time image displayed on the monitor can help them perform activities requiring that level of magnification without a delay, such as writing and other hands-on activities.
CCTV magnifiers can have a variety of both simple and advanced options, including color viewing, black and white contrast modes, split-screen monitors, scrolling while at higher magnifications, increased focus of magnification settings, and more.
There are CCTV magnifiers which are more portable, as well as more stationary desktop models.
Handheld CCTV Magnifiers: Handheld magnifiers are great for those who need vision assistance while on the move, whether for in the house tasks and activities like reading recipes, playing cards, or looking at a computer screen. These smaller magnifiers are also somewhat cheaper than large desktop models. However, being handheld devices, they have to be held while used, require charging, and may have a smaller field of view and fewer options.
Desktop CCTV Magnifiers: Desktop CCTV magnifiers have several advantages over portable magnifiers, for people who need them for reading and other tasks while at home. They are more powerful, larger (meaning they can also magnify more text at a time), and they are of course hands free and don’t require charging. They are also adjustable, so that you can properly position the device over the text or other object you need magnified. However, they are limited in their flexibility by the simple fact that they are stationary devices, so only provide magnification assistance at one location. Additionally, as larger devices, desktop CCTV magnifiers will be more expensive than their handheld counterparts.
When you first realize you need more vision correction than your standard eyeglasses to provide, it is time to look into other options. If you are having difficulty with tasks such as reading, shopping, creating art, or other detail-oriented work done at close distances, a CCTV magnifier might be worth considering.
CCTV magnifiers can be somewhat pricey. While the prices of different brands are often comparable, doing some research to compare prices and product features is advisable.
Before making any purchase, however, it is essential to see a low vision optometrist for a full low vision evaluation. During this evaluation, the doctor will determine the state of your vision, and what would help the most to correct it and enable you to continue doing tasks that have been impacted by low vision.
This will also provide an opportunity to try out several types of low vision devices, and the doctor will be able to make a recommendation for what devices can best help you following discussions about what sorts of tasks you are having trouble with, and need assistance for.
Today, there are many CCTV magnifiers out there, so it is important to understand the available options, and the questions to ask your doctor, in order to make the right purchase for your needs.
CCTV magnifiers are a very effective versatile tool that can enable low vision patients to regain their independence and resume the tasks that have become a struggle. If you are experiencing low vision and think CCTV magnifiers could help you, contact your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice to schedule an appointment for a consultation.