Overview of Low Vision Devices

The use of low vision devices is relevant to persons of all ages. Children with low vision may require the use of low vision devices throughout daily education classes and during normal home-life activities. Other individuals with eye disease related to age, or vision compromised due to injury, may also benefit from the usage of low vision devices. There are two primary categories for low vision devices: Magnifiers for viewing things and objects close up (microscopic lenses), and magnifiers used for viewing objects and images at a distance (telescopic lenses). With the advances in technology, many low vision devices are available with the ability to provide multiple function (near and distance) magnification and visual aid.

Near Object Low Vision Devices

Handheld Magnifiers – In this family of low vision devices, handheld magnifiers include the loop, traditional magnifying glass, dome magnifier, and electronic handheld magnifiers. The function of some handheld magnifiers may be limited and not sufficient visual support for many low vision needs. The handheld electronic magnifier is the most advance low vision device in this family, offering the most visual aid for the job. Different electronic handheld magnifiers offer features that are exceedingly helpful, like additional lighting, settings for magnification strength, contrast color options and more.

Table Magnifiers

Bridging the gap between near object viewing and distance object viewing, select table top magnifiers offer the ability to direct the camera in an outward direction and garner images and text from across the room, displaying the information on the monitor before you. Common desktop low vision devices may be as simple as a stand mounted magnifying glass to the more advanced CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) magnifiers. The more advance desktop magnifiers provide additional lighting, viewing modes, computer connectivity, and increased magnification options designed to better support low vision needs.

Distance Viewing Low Vision Devices

Telescopic Technology – Perhaps familiar in the arena of gazing at the stars, telescopic technology allows objects at a distance to be brought into clear focus. As mentioned above, many desktop and portable low vision devices are equipped with the ability to gather distant information (like a chalk/whiteboard or presentations), and display the information clearly (and magnified) on the personal monitor. Many low vision assistive devices are able to connect to computers and laptops, increasing the functionality of the magnifier.

Other distance viewing low vision devices include bioptic telelescopic systems (specially designed eye glasses) and monocular (handheld, single eye) telescopes.