What to Know About Low Vision Aids for Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is among the leading causes of low vision for Americans over the age of 60. Effecting the macula (located in the canter of the retina), light sensitive tissues, responsible for sending impulse/nerve signals to the brain are damaged, resulting in blurred vision and over time, loss of central vision.

As macular degeneration advances the severity of the vision loss increases often requiring specialized low vision aids for macular degeneration. These vision aids are designed with the purpose to combine research, technology, and daily application for providing visual assistance to individuals living with macular degeneration.

Understanding the effects that AMD has on vision helps determine what features are preferred when finding the optimal low vision aids for macular degeneration.

Helpful Features


Macular degeneration directly affects the light sensitive tissue in the eye, to which additional lighting will aid in tasks like reading and writing. Simple adjustments can be made in the home by increasing the presence of natural light, or by adding lamps that mimic natural lighting. Lighting selections are an ideal feature for electronic low vision aids for macular degeneration allowing adjustable increased lighting and contrast viewing modes, supporting the damaged retina.


Sharp, fine detail vision is also compromised as a result of macular degeneration. Visual aids that allow, black and white viewing modes, color, and other contrast/ sharp image focused features provide additional control and low vision support.

Screen Viewing Modes

Various low vision aids for macular degeneration allow screen-viewing modes that support the use of peripheral vision. The loss of central vision or missing spots in vision can be supported through the screen viewing modes. Features like image capture freeze the image being magnified and display it on the screen. For example, if you are using a handheld magnifier and viewing a photograph, you can freeze the magnified view of the photograph and move the magnifier to the sight line of your peripheral vision. This is also helpful with menus, transportation schedules, and more. More commonly found as a feature for an electronic desktop video magnifier, vertical viewing mode is also a desirable feature. Tailoring to the vision strengths, low vision aids for macular degeneration will increase support to remaining vision areas. By offering vertical viewing, images and text can be displayed on the screen/ monitor in a vertical (top to bottom) position, located off center. This encourages the use of peripheral vision.