July 8, 2009

Many aids to help those with low vision

People with poor eyesight caused by diseases often can be helped with various vision aids, a U.S. newsletter says.

Experts at the Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource say such low vision isn't just the normal trouble people have reading small print as they get older. It's limited vision caused by macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa or other eye diseases.

A low vision specialist can help patients find the vision aids that will best serve them, the Mayo newsletter says

Some of the vision aids mentioned in the newsletter include:

-- Magnifying eyeglasses that are stronger than prescription eyeglasses. The lens may be included with the eyeglasses or attached to a headband for close-up tasks such as threading a needle.

-- Miniature telescopes, hand-held or mounted on eyeglasses, that help see at a distance to see a television across the room.

-- Video magnifiers use a camera and a video screen to enlarge printed material, pictures or small objects. Some are portable, and some can be used with a computer or monitor.

-- Talking alarm clocks, watches, timers, thermometers, scales, even prescription bottles and blood sugar meters that speak out readings.

-- Computer software programs can magnify text on a computer screen. Speech systems enable computers to read aloud what's on the screen. Scanning devices allow the reading of printed text.

-- Closed-circuit TV systems project enlarged images onto a video screen to help with reading books, magazines and other materials.