Low vision aids are devices designed to help people with poor vision see better, making the most of their leftover vision to perform daily chores as easily, independently and seamlessly as possible.
Vision loss is a serious concern not only within the United States, but all around the globe, especially among the older lot.
According to estimates:
More than 6.5 million seniors in USA require some sort of assistance in living their daily lives,
the number expected to grow twofold by 2020.
Vision loss affects the lives of every 1 in 6 seniors.
This is where the concept of assisted living kicks in, supporting seniors with various methods, tools and technologies, enabling them to overcome their physical (or even mental) limitations and live their lives as close to normal as possible.
That’s what makes low vision devices so pertinent for senior living and they are available in several different types and forms, such as optical and non-optical devices, electronic magnifiers and other magnification systems.
Low vision devices are designed to be task specific, i.e. some of them are designed to assist in close-up visual tasks, while some are designed for distance viewing. That is why several different devices may be needed for accomplishment of specific types of tasks, depending mostly upon your eye condition(s) and everyday living needs.
So, let’s explore:
Different Types of Low Vision Aids
Low vision assistive devices exist in simpler forms and models, like optical and non-optical aids, to slightly advanced and complex electronic and digital magnifiers. Optical and non-optical devices offer quite simple and economical solutions, whereas digital/electronic magnifying solutions are comparatively complex and costly.
Optical Devices for Low Vision: A variety of devices make up this category of visual aids, handheld and stand magnifiers, loupes, small telescopes as well as strong magnifying reading glasses. These are better than your regular glasses, owed to their high magnification power and higher quality optics (i.e. the superior mechanics used in bending/refracting light). To use them optimally, you often have to get some training initially.
Non-optical Devices for Low Vision: These are slightly different from their optical counterparts, featuring various adaptations like reading stands, typoscopes, glare control (absorptive) sunglasses and tactile locator dots. Non-optical low vision aids are designed to supplement optical low vision aids and offer assistance in reading, writing, organizing, labeling and a host of other day-to-day activities.
Electronic Magnification Systems: A variety of designs, sizes, shapes and features constitute this category of low vision aids, depending upon the task you want to perform. Many include a camera system (for capturing images) and a monitor (to display the captured images), which displays a highly magnified view of the image captured by the camera. Such visual aids serve best for reading books, magazines and emails. There are also portable versions of these electronic magnification systems, which you can take along wherever you go. These are meant to help you read labels, coupons and menus when you are out shopping or dining.
What is Meant by Independent Living for a Person Suffering from Low Vision?
Different people might perceive it differently, but for someone suffering from a limitation like low vision, living independently would relate to their ability to live just like other people around them with properly functioning vision.
It is quite evident that a person with low vision conditions encounters problems quite different from those with normal vision around him. For instance, the longing to see a loved one and feel what they feel; cook for your grandchildren, see your nephew graduate; watch your favorite NFL game.
It is really not possible for someone bestowed with the gift of vision to envision such everyday activities as a challenge. However, once you start losing sight, these little acts of joy really signify for you to a whole new level.
Some other important aspects of independent living for visually impaired might include:
Social Interaction and Assimilation
Your social life is one of the first areas to be affected when you suffer from low vision. It’s not that all of a sudden you turn into a solitary being, but keeping up with others around you becomes a physical inability after some time. You are no more able to see a person’s face and you are no more able to catch up with their emotional presence, which affects your ability to socialize gradually.
Living independently would require you to get some assistance that enables you to bridge these gaps and reconnect to people around you as much as possible.
Getting visually handicapped also puts your safety in jeopardy. All of a sudden the same home that used to be your ‘Zen-Zone’ turns into a strange and hostile place. You are always at a risk of tripping down the stairs, bumping into the dining table, slipping on the wet floor and so much more. Independent living in this case would mean being able to wade through all such challenges unharmed and unscathed, all the while being able to do your desired tasks.
Do Low Vision Aids Help in Independent Living?
Yes, they do
For instance, someone suffering from age related macular degeneration or cataracts won’t be able to read instructions on a food-can unless they have a magnifying glass handy. Or, someone with tunnel vision won’t be able to use their peripheral vision to its natural capacity unless they have an appropriate visual aid. Similarly, an electronic magnifier with a stand would make all the difference in the world for you to read your favorite daily paper.
So, what’s the problem then?
The problem lies in the fact that a common man’s list of daily activities varies quite a lot and most of the conventional low vision aids are confined to mere one or two specialized tasks. This means you need to have quite a few of low vision devices to make it through with your daily routine, which turns out to be much of a nuisance for many.
The solution – IrisVision!
Not everything in life needs to be overcomplicated ……. finding an all-in-one low vision device capable of compensating for all the shortcomings faced by vision impaired people (also those not counted for in common low vision aids) can be the best solution under such circumstances.
Another thing that makes it easy to find such a low vision device is the fact that not many in the market are really capable of doing so other than IrisVision …… a futuristic low vision device that goes above and beyond in catering the requirements of people suffering from low vision issues.
How IrisVision Helps You with Independent Living as a Visually Impaired Person?
Some of the activities IrisVision enables you to perform include:
Reading and writing everything, from newspapers to books, labels to documents and even solving crossword puzzles
Watching TV, even in a dimly lit room
Seeing faces of the loved ones
Picking up old hobbies like knitting and sewing
Watch your favorite NFL game live in the stadium
Enjoying outdoor activities (not recommended for brisk walking or running though)
In fact, these are just a few of the endless features IrisVision boasts of.