Around 3 million US citizens suffered from low vision issues by 2010
(these numbers don’t cover those who are legally blind)
So, it is quite natural when people consider resorting to low vision products, especially the low vision magnifiers, since regular prescription glasses and lenses fail to do the job when you suffer from low vision conditions. However, you ought to evaluate whether these are actually fulfilling the purpose or not. Let’s have a look at:
What Are Low Vision Magnifiers?
Low vision magnifiers are designed to help you make the best of your vision. The primary objective of such low vision optical devices is to assist you in performing daily-life activities as smoothly and as independently as possible.
That is why magnifiers for low vision are task-specific; using on in place of other is not viable, just like tools used in building a house – different tasks, different tools. For instance, you’ll need one type of magnifier for reading, while a different one for seeing faces or watching television, and a totally different one for sewing.
Your eye doctor may also recommend you sunglasses, which will help lower the exposure to glare, protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of UV (ultraviolet) rays and blue light, so that you can see better in varying lighting conditions as well. In short, you might need to use 4-5 different types of magnifiers to perform your daily activities based on your eye problems and everyday living needs.
Types of Low Vision Magnifiers
These low vision devices can be segregated into various different types based on their size, shape and function mostly.
Serve to magnify one or two lines typed within the area covered by them. They can either be laid flat on the reading surface or can be raised a few inches above, with the help of small feet underneath them.
There is a wide array of these low vision aids, mostly helpful in viewing an extensive field of text from books, maps, puzzles or even telephone directories. These magnifiers are available as a framed or unframed, handheld or stand-fitted, capable of magnifying an object underneath. You can also read from a computer monitor or laptop screen with these devices.
Dome Magnifiers/Globe Magnifiers:
These are designed specifically in dome shape. Mostly cover a small area and you can lay them flat on a small reading surface or hold vertically for tasks like reading a thermometer or threading a needle.
Best serve for spot tasks, i.e. checking a price tag on an item, reading a medicine label, reading a map and so forth. Variations include illuminated and non-illuminated models mostly available in round or rectangular shapes.
As the name suggests, adjustable cords around the neck supports these magnifiers, allowing your hands to be free while they rest on your chest. You can get them in illuminated as well as non-illuminated options.
Often equipped with two or more lenses, which can be used solo or in combination, pocket magnifiers are meant to be housed in your pockets, offering you a certain level of portability as well. You can also get them in illuminated models.
Small legs or holders support these, giving them their name. You get a consistent view of the surface you want magnified, as they are held at a specific distance and angle, with the help of the frame they are fitted into. This is especially helpful if you have tremors or unsteady hands due to some other problem. You also get the option of illumination in them.
You can head-mount these, either over prescription glasses or without them, best for close-up or precision tasks. These also leave your hands free to be engaged in your desired task.
You get a host of variations with these low vision magnifiers, such as magnification and illumination levels, color of the light the magnifier emits, types of light bulbs, lens size and even the weight of the magnifier. In most cases, you get these with a flexible arm, which can be moved anywhere over the reading surface.
Desktop Video Magnifiers/CCTV Magnifiers/Electronic Magnifiers:
Different names, same concept. This type of low vision magnifiers normally refer to comparatively large and non-portable devices designed to be placed on a desk or table and assist you in reading from the pages of a document. Principally, they comprise of a camera (used to capture the image) and a monitor (to display a highly magnified image of the surface area captured by the camera lens). Newer models boast of high-definition monitors supplemented by a range of color contrasts as well as OCR (optical character recognition) capabilities.
So, Should You Buy Low Vision Magnifiers?
When it all comes down to a yes or no, buying them is definitely more viable than not having them, because once you suffer from low vision, it is already too late for conventional aids like prescription glasses or lenses to help improve your visual capacity.
However, the problem is that an average person performs a wide range of daily activities, which would require different types of magnifiers suitable for specific tasks.
Is There a Better Alternative?
Hypothetically, the ideal situation would be to have a low vision magnifier capable of catering to all the varied needs at once.
The good news is that it’s not hypothetical anymore, thanks to the “IrisVision”, a contemporary innovative solution which provides you everything being offered by all these different types of low vision magnifiers and much more.
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.