Low Vision Aids for Visually Impaired Reading Assistance

The Handheld Magnifier

Finding the right tools to optimize vision often depends on the low vision eye condition and the desired purpose for the visual aid. Simple low cost solutions are available, such as the magnifying glass, which aids visually impaired individuals through the use of a traditional approach to handheld magnification. The results offered by a traditional handheld magnifier may help when reading a note or prescription bottle, however may not be powerful enough or supply ample lighting for preferred vision or sustained extended usage, such as when reading a book or magazine. More advanced options like electric handheld magnifiers often provide options for both handheld and surface resting reading/usage modes. The devices vary, offering lighting, reading magnification adjustments, image capture or freeze screen, and color/contrast settings. Theses devices aid visually impaired individuals with both reading freedom and ease of use. The handheld magnifier (traditional or electric) provides a great everyday and on-the-go low vision reading aid.

Portable Electronic Desktop Magnifiers

Increasing the usage and functionality, portable desktop magnifiers aids visually impaired tasks such as computer usage, extended reading, paperwork, office and school presentation, self-grooming, and more. Portable desktop magnifiers are most commonly comprised of two main components, the camera and the viewing screen. Select available models of portable desktop magnifiers allow for an adjustable arm (used for holding the camera) providing a freedom in positioning the camera. This type of positioning freedom is optimal for situations such as work environment and school, as the camera may be directed at the images in the font of the room (white board or PowerPoint presentation) while the information is conveyed and displayed on the screen, magnified. The screen options available in many portable electronic desktop magnifiers aids visually impaired viewing by often providing the individual the option the modify screen magnification to as much as 82x adjustable magnification, color selection, and contract settings. Another great usage for the portable electronic magnifier is the possibility for mirror image display, perfect for makeup application and morning routine grooming.

Desktop Magnifiers

For a stationary office or fixed reading location low vision assistive device, a desktop magnifier is a great solution for reading and viewing magnification. Most desktop magnifiers offer computer connectivity and may include split screen capabilities. Should central vision be compromised or lost, some desktop magnifiers (such as the Merlin) offer the viewing option of vertical imaging, which aids visually impaired eye conditions such as macular degeneration, by providing adjustable sharpness of images and peripheral reading.

There are many options available for reading assistance specializing in low vision. These options range from simple to advance, and may be suited for specific uses, some better than others, however with the counsel of a low vision specialist and a bit of research, finding the right low vision aids for visually impaired reading assistance is possible.