For those who are visually impaired, low vision services can be particularly useful. This is mostly in part due to the many devices designed to help those who have suffered from vision loss. Magnifiers and telescopes can be especially helpful, and have been utilized for many years to help the visually impaired. As technological advances continue, we have seen numerous new options in the field of low vision technology in particular; from reading computers, to smartphone apps, to virtual reality headsets, the options for patients with low vision are vast.
Large digital magnifiers, called CCTVs, have been around for quite some time. However, the technology behind these devices continue to advance, making CCTVs more effective and more user-friendly. These large desktop magnification devices allow the user to adjust size, brightness, contrast, and color, and have proven to be incredibly useful in helping patients with reading tasks. Some newer models even have the ability to read text to the user. Smaller portable CCTVs are an option that allows for both easy mobility and versatile magnification. CCTVs are an excellent option if magnification demand or physical limitations prevents traditional magnifiers from being effective.
These days, we rarely go anywhere without our phones. Many smartphones have been developed to include accessibility features within the operating system. This means that most phones include settings, such as increased text size, inverted contrast, or camera magnification, that aim to help those with visual impairments. In addition to accessibility features, there are now many different apps that provide assistance for the visually impaired. The versatility of these apps is endless; some help low vision patients correctly identify colors, while some pair the user with a sighted individual somewhere else in the world via a video-call. Here is an extensive list of useful apps for the blind and visually impaired.
Wearable Low Vision Devices
The newest development in low vision technology, wearable devices are hands-free headsets that provide the patient with many features similar to a CCTV, such as adjustable magnification, contrast, and brightness. The features of wearables differ between the many different models; some require a smartphone to function while others are stand-alone, some have text-to-speech capabilities, and some devices focus on expanding the visible field of view. While these devices may be on the pricier side, they have proven to be highly effective for many visually impaired patients.