Reading is a pastime enjoyed by many. However, with the development of low vision conditions such as macular degeneration, tunnel vision and retinitis, reading can transform from a pleasing, effortless activity into one that requires a great deal of adjustment and causes headaches. For people in this situation, reading for fun isn’t worth it anymore.
Fortunately, there are various types of low vision devices for reading that can restore the joy and ease of reading once more.
Types of low vision reading devices
- Magnifiers: Many of these contain built-in reading lamps to illuminate the words while magnifying them for the best readability possible. Magnifiers can be hand-held, mounted to a height-adjustable stand, or hang around the reader’s neck.
- Reading glasses: Full- or half-lens styles are available, as are high-power bifocals.
- Reading telescopes: Both hand-held options and telescopes mounted to special eyeglasses are available. The nose carries the eyeglass telescope’s weight quite comfortably thanks to enhanced nose pads and padded bridges.
- Video magnifiers: A camera projects the images from a page onto a computer or television monitor for comfortable, magnified reading. Users can adjust the screen’s brightness, color, contrast, and magnification while sitting in a comfortable, upright position instead of leaning over a table.
- Eyeglass magnifiers: This includes a device that sits on the reading material and magnifies the image to a pair of eyeglasses worn by the reader. This high-tech option can even be used on rounded surfaces, such as bottles or cans.
- Freedom Machine by Vision Technology: A high-definition flat panel protrudes from a magnifier set upon a book. It features a fast auto-focus feature and no glare. The panel’s height and tilt can be adjusted for optimal comfort.
Non-optical low vision aids
Low vision reading devices rely on optical technology to solve low vision problems. There are also non-optical aids that can help with low vision situations, from reading to telling the time to keeping dollar bills sorted properly. They include:
- Large-print books and cookbooks
- Large-numbered clocks, watches, telephones and playing cards
- “Talking” electronics, including thermometers, timers and clocks
- Wallets with several pockets to store different bill denominations separately
- Voice-recording organizers
- Color-coded pill bottles
Many of these non-optical low vision aids can be purchased from drugstores, book stores or discount shopping centers. Remember, no matter which type of optical or non-optical solution is chosen, increasing the amount of light in the area is always beneficial for improving readability.