What do you do if your vision is impaired? How would you cope with the fact that you are not able to read a newspaper or a letter? How about something as simple as reading the ingredients on a box of cereal?

If you are unable to see what is written on anything like a book, sign, or even a chalkboard, you could ask someone to read it aloud for you. Yet, having independence after vision loss is something that cannot be overlooked.

In the last couple of years, High-Tech Aids for Visual Impairment has become something that is actually possible. Technology has made it easier for visually impaired people to obtain and use a wide range of assistive technologies. These devices allow individuals with visual impairments to engage in activities that they might not otherwise be able to do. Some devices simply magnify what the user can see, while others have additional functions.

What are some of the options for high-tech low vision devices?

There are many different types of High-Tech Aids available, so it's always best to visit a low vision optometrist before purchasing one.

  • Phone and computer based low vision technologies - Since our cell phones have cameras they are a great tool for someone with vision loss. For example there are apps that will read text, magnify text, change contrast, and identify things around you. A low vision optometrist will have the most updated lists of cell phone based assistive technologies.
  • CCTV low vision devices - A CCTV is a camera that projects the image onto a screen and allows for magnification, changing color contrast settings, and depending on the model other setting may be included. CCTV’s that are desktop versions are ideal for someone who needs it for work or studies.  While handheld CCTV’s are a great option for someone who is looking for a device that they can use when they are outdoors.
  • Digital headsets  - There are many digital  devices that are worn over the eyes that have external cameras that project the image inside the headset. These devices have many features such as magnification, contrast, text to speech and more. The big drawback is that most low vision patients do not want something so large and obvious when they are out of the house. Examples of digital headsets Acesight by Zoomax are IrisVision, Esight, and NuEyes Pro.
  • Optical character recognition - For people with more severe vision loss there are devices that will assist with identifying faces, reading text, identifying money, without relying on the patients vision at all. One extremely innovative example is OrCam which has two products named best invention of the year by time magazine in 2019 and 2021.

Who is the ideal candidate for high tech low vision devices?

Many low vision patients have difficulty learning new technologies or have limited budgets for advanced technologies for low vision. Since every person and their vision is different, it is always ideal to visit a low vision optometrist for a low vision exam, so that the doctor can assess the patient's vision, their visual goals, and identify the devices that can help them achieve independence within their budget.

Schedule an appointment for a low vision evaluation by visiting our reputable optometry clinic in Hixson, serving patients from the surrounding areas including Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley. Call (423) 321-8233 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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