Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Health tips: Quality magnifiers can help sharpen low vision

When a patient is diagnosed with low vision, this means vision impairment that is not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery. This vision loss can affect an individual’s independence and quality of life, but it doesn’t have to.

There are many tools available for these individuals to remain independent and continue to do things they enjoy — like reading, writing, crocheting, etc. Many people with low vision don’t know about the resources that are available to them.

Low vision aids keep getting better each year with newer technology. Quality low vision aids can only be purchased through low vision specialists and dealers. Magnifiers purchased from the local drugstore are meant for people with healthy eyes and good vision; these magnifiers only have a minimal amount of the power that low vision magnifiers provide.

A hand-held low vision magnifier comes with or without lights, with or without a base and in many different powers. Hand-held electronics that can be easily taken in a pocket or purse are great for viewing prices, reading a menu, writing checks and viewing books. These handy magnifiers have different contrast adjustments and a variety of powers.

Another option is a CCTV, which is a device for writing and reading that allows a much larger field of view than hand-held devices.

Lighting is another important factor in dealing with low vision. A good light directed onto what you are reading can improve what you are able to see.

If you have been diagnosed with low vision and are wondering which piece of equipment would be best for you, an evaluation with a low vision specialist is the right place to start. Always continue to have routine eye exams and monitor Amsler grids as instructed by your doctor. Call your eye care provider if you notice any changes in your vision.