Microscopes are a helpful visual aid used to help people with low vision read and perform tasks from up close.
If you are struggling to read or to perform various tasks from up close, such as hobbies like sewing or doing the daily crossword puzzle, there is no reason to let your low vision prevent you from doing so. There are so many visual aids available to help you see from up close and microscopes are one of them, with their own variety of different types. Microscopes are high powered lenses that offer a small field of vision, but help people with low vision be able to perform tasks from up close. Due to the fact that microscopes are primarily used for short distance vision, they are usually used with one eye, monocularly, because converging both eyes when you are looking at a target in such close proximity is very challenging for the visual system. In most cases, the microscope is used by the patient’s dominant eye and the other eye might have what is called a balance lens which is something to keep both lenses looking as symmetrical as possible when only one eye has the microscope.
There are several different designs for low vision microscopes, which provide varying functional and aesthetic options. Based on your individual needs, the low vision doctor will be able to recommend which microscope would work best for you. Some available options are described below.
These microscopic lenses are implemented into glasses that have the distance prescription in the top half and then the microscope is mounted on the bottom half, similar to bifocals. These are recommended for people who regularly switch between near and distance vision. There is an added feature that a colored tint can be added to these lenses for patients who benefit from filters.
The microscope is placed in the center of the lens and is used for near vision only. It is a lightweight system with a wide range of powers available, and it tends to be very easy to learn how to use. Although you have to use this while performing a task from quite close up, there is a great depth of focus which means that there is maximum focusing flexibility for the person using it. Due to the fact that this microscope is used from close up, it often is used in just one eye, monocularly. In such a case, a similar looking microscope can be placed on the second eye for a symmetric cosmetic effect, however it won’t have any power. This type of microscope prevents various optical disturbances, known as aberrations, that one could experience from using a microscope or other high powered optical aids. If you have a distance prescription it can be incorporated into the full diameter microscope along with a tint, if you benefit from using filters.
These high-resolution microscopes are aesthetic and are known for providing clear vision. It has the widest field of vision that also avoids distortions which often come with wide visual fields. If you have an astigmatism, your cylinder correction can be added to these glasses which makes reading so much clearer. Due to the fact that this microscope is used from close up, it often is used in just one eye, monocularly. In such a case, a similar looking microscope will be placed on the second eye for a symmetric cosmetic effect, however it won’t have any power.
This is an optical system that involves both microscopes and prisms. One eye has a high plus microscope to help focus up close while the other eye has a prism to help the visual system focus so close up without strain.
These reading glasses look like half eye readers where the lenses just cover the bottom half of your eyes so that you can look down through them to read. These glasses are high plus to help people with low vision see clearly up close while still maintaining a more cosmetically appealing appearance. One eye has the high plus microscope while the other eye is looking through a prism that eases the strain on the visual system which occurs when looking up close through a high plus.
Both of these microscopes are mounted in the center of the lens and are usually given in one eye, monocularly, because of the very close working distance.
The Telephoto is a microscope that allows you to read at a farther distance than its competitors. It has a wide field of vision while still maintaining clear vision without distortions.
The High Power Microscope is designed to be more cosmetic for people with low vision who require a high magnification.