Optical and non-optical vision aids for reading

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People with low vision may feel frustrated to read books, newspapers and other materials. These effortless enjoyments definitely impose much more requirements on visual impaired individuals. Some patients simply give up reading and spend all of their spare time on the TV set. In fact, there are many types of low vision aids for reading. Some of them require a prescription from ECPs and others are nonprescription devices. Patients are encouraged to get advice from their doctors before making a decision.

Handheld magnifiers and a variation

The simplest and most affordable device is handheld magnifier. It is quite convenient to place such a device over the materials and then get magnified, clear view. Today, lots of seniors use handheld magnifier at home when they read daily newspapers and sometimes a cooking menu. Certainly, some people may find this kind of device inconvenient for outdoor use and long-term use. Variations of handheld magnifiers include reading lamps, the type that is mounted on height-adjustable stands or hand around the neck.

Different types of reading glasses and telescopes

Strong reading glasses and bifocal eyeglasses with high-power reading segments can also be your choice. Compared with handheld magnifiers, these two types of devices will stay constantly on your nose and free your hands from holding. Reading telescopes can be either handheld or mounted onto special eyeglass frames with enhanced nose pads and padded bridges. This device offers users flexible options and is thus popular.

Video magnifiers can project reading materials onto a big screen

Video magnifiers are another more advantageous option, although they cost much more. These devices project printed materials on a closed circuit television (CCTV), monitor or computer screen. The patient can see those materials on the screen, just like watching TV. All common parameters such as magnification degree, brightness, contrast and color are under adjustments according to personal needs. In addition, the gesture of the patient can be more natural.

See magnified materials via the glasses projected by a portable device

You can also get portable reading from a special device system. The device rests on your reading materials and magnifies it. And you can read materials on your eyeglasses projected by the device. You hold the device and can move it in any direction to magnify certain parts of a page. The device can also magnify curved surfaces such as cans and pill bottles.

Some non-optical ways to get low vision aid

In addition to the above low vision devices, inexpensive non-optical adaptive aids are also helpful. People with low vision may have difficulty recognizing certain objects. Large-print cookbooks, large-numbered playing cards, clocks, telephones and watches are easier for reading. Other “devices” include large felt-tip pens, wide-lined paper, color-coded pill boxes, voice-recording electronic organizers, signature guides etc.

Read in an environment with good lighting

Regardless of any type of vision aids you choose, good lighting is critical. People with impaired vision need a larger amount of ambient light. Natural sunlight is the best for reading, so that low-vision patients can sit near a window during daytime reading. If natural lighting is beyond your hand, use “full-spectrum” incandescent bulbs, rather than harsh fluorescent lighting. While the former type is closer to natural sunlight, the latter type causes glare and discomfort. You should choose bright light bulbs or lamps with three-way sockets.