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What Are Low Vision Aids?


Does Low Vision Eye Care Offer More Than Just Special Eyeglasses?

Although many people hear the term low vision aids and immediately think of eyeglasses with very thick lenses and/or magnifiers mounted to the frames, that’s not the full picture of what eye care has to offer people with reduced eyesight.

Low vision devices are intended to maximize one’s remaining eyesight, enhancing visual performance in order to improve daily function and enjoyment of life. While specialized lenses are certainly one type of aid, non-optical and electronic devices are also available. If you have low vision, our eye care professionals in Marion, Cedar Bluff, and Bristol, Virginia , will evaluate your eyesight thoroughly to fit you with the most helpful low vision aids.

Optical low vision aids

All the devices in this category of eye care technologies consist of one or more lenses placed between the eye and the object to be viewed. These lenses function to magnify the size of the image, thereby providing an enlarged picture of the object on the retina.

Different types of optical low vision aids include:

  • Magnifiers – fit with lenses in the power that your eye care provider prescribes, magnifiers can be hand-held (with or without illumination), hanging, on a stand, worn as spectacles, or bar and dome magnifiers.
  • Telescopes – people with low vision typically require telescopes with magnification powers ranging from 2x to 10x. These aids can be prescribed for near, intermediate, and distance tasks. Telescopes also come in several versions, such as hand-held, spectacle mounted, clip-on, and bioptic designs. These devices can make it easier to watch TV, read street signs, and make out the daily menu on a restaurant board.
  • Anti-glare devices – glare can be very disruptive for people with low vision, and tinted lenses with absorptive filters can reduce or eliminate this problem. Hats and visors are also advised.

Non-optical low vision aids

This category of eye care products is diverse, with items designed to promote enhance visual independence in various ways. Aiming to make objects appear “bigger, bolder, and brighter,” they can improve illumination, spatial relationships, and visual contrast. Devices include lamps, reading stands, writing guides, bold-lined paper, magnifying mirrors, high contrast watches, large-print books and magazines, and needle-threaders, and more helpful designs. Our trained eye care professionals in Marion, Cedar Bluff, and Bristol, Virginia , will guide you towards the most useful non-optical low vision aids for your lifestyle and teach you how to use them.

Electronic low vision aids

Assistive electronic devices include:

  • Video magnifiers – a monitor and camera that projects an enlarged image on the screen; this low vision aid can be fixed or mobile
  • Bluetooth connections to smart projectors
  • Large-print computer programs
  • Closed circuit television (CCTV) – a zoom camera magnifies materials onto a digital screen. The advantage of this low vision technology is that it can magnify items up to 100x.
  • Conversion systems – these non-optical electronic devices include talking watches, talking calculators, and text-to-speech conversion technologies (screen readers)

As computerized electronics develop by leaps and bounds, more and more low vision aids are coming on the market. At our Marion, Cedar Bluff, and Bristol, Virginia , eye care centers, we stay current with the latest low vision technologies in order to optimize our patients’ eyesight and quality of life!

At Envision Eye Care, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 276-783-5157 or book an appointment online to see one of our Marion eye doctors.

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