Low Vision Aides and a Specialist’s Approach
A nationwide online poll by a nonprofit health research group, Research America, found that loss of vision is the most feared health concern among Americans. Low vision is frightening and adjusting is challenging… but help is available! Wendy Mons, CLVT, is a low vision specialist who serves the patients of West Georgia Eye Care Center. Her approach is to provide the low vision aid that works best for the individual and their unique needs.
What is a low vision aid?
A low vision aid is an apparatus that improves vision. There is no one device that restores normal vision in all circumstances, so you may need different devices for different purposes. If possible, try a device before you buy it to see if it is useful for you. There are two types of low vision aids: optical and non-optical.
Optical low vision aids:
Optical low vision devices use lenses or combinations of lenses to provide magnification. They should not be confused with standard eyeglasses. There are five main kinds of optical devices:
- Magnifying spectacles are stronger than ordinary glasses. When you use them, you need to hold your reading material very close; otherwise the print is out of focus. This may feel awkward at first, but you will become used to it. They are designed for close work, so magnifying spectacles leave both hands free to hold reading material.
- Hand magnifiers are familiar to most people. With these, you can hold reading material at a normal distance. You can buy hand magnifiers in department and drug stores.
- Stand magnifiers rest on the reading material. Some have a self-contained light source.
- Telescopes are used for distance magnification. They may be hand held for viewing distant objects, or mounted in spectacles.
- Non-optical low vision aids:
- Large-print books, newspapers and magazines
- Check-writing guides
- Large playing cards
- Enlarged telephone dials
- High-contrast watch faces
- Machines that talk (timers, clocks, computers)
- Machines that scan print and read aloud
- Closed-circuit television systems are versatile and provide high magnification.
West Georgia Eye Care Center hosts the LOW VISION SUPPORT GROUP monthly. Regularly scheduled meetings offer relevant information from dynamic speakers and great fellowship with kindred people! If you, or someone you care about, need help with low vision, help is only a call away… 706 323 3491 to schedule an evaluation. To learn dates and times for support meetings, contact Robin Kelly at extension 7513.