Treatment options for visual impairments
A wide variety of rehabilitation options are available to help people with low vision live and/or work more effectively, efficiently and safely. Most people can be helped with one or more low vision treatment options. Unfortunately, only about 20-25% of those who could benefit from these treatment options have been seen by a low vision optometrist. The more commonly prescribed devices are:
Spectacle-mounted magnifiers – A magnifying lens is mounted in spectacles (this type of system is called a microscope) or on a special headband. This allows use of both hands to complete the close-up task, such as reading.
Hand-held or spectacle-mounted telescopes – These miniature telescopes are useful for seeing longer distances, such as across the room to watch television, and can also be modified for near reading tasks like reading.
Hand-held and stand magnifiers – These can serve as supplements to other specialized systems. They are convenient for short term reading like price tags, labels and instrument dials. Both types can be equipped with lights.
Electronic low vision devices – Electronic video magnifiers (closed-circuit television) enlarge reading material on a video display. These are portable systems and can be used with a computer or monitor. Image brightness, image size, contrast, foreground/background color and illumination can be customized. Enlargement and audio software is available to enlarge the print on a computer screen. Software is also available to read the print on the screen to the patient.
In addition, there are numerous other products to assist those with a vision impairment, such as large-type books, magazines and newspapers, books-on-tape, talking wristwatches, self-threading needles and more. There is also new adaptive electronic equipment available that will enlarge print or use audio output to communicate directly to patients. To learn about the latest devices available, consult with your low vision specialist.