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Low Vision Guide
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Low vision is a visual impairment, not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, that interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities. Vision Technology® designs and creates industry leading low vision aids that revolutionize how people with low vision engage with essential, everyday activities and improves their quality of life. From state-of-the-art precision glass optics, auto-focus technology and the industries first incorporation of LED lighting, the impact of Vision Technology products is evident across the low vision industry. With a reputation for superior quality and a portfolio of the most respected and recognized low vision brands, Vision Technology is continuously redefining how people with low vision live independently.

Most people develop low vision because of eye disease such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration. Low Vision primarily affects people over the age of 65. Low vision is commonly used by eye care professionals to mean sight that isn't correctable with surgery. While lost vision usually cannot be restored, Vision Technology products are life changing and enable people with low vision to lead independent, inspiring and successful lives. See why..

Living with Low Vision?
Low Vision Aids for Computer  
Low Vision Video Magnifiers Low Vision Portable Products  
Low Vision CCTV's Low Vision Specialist  
Low Vision Aids for Reading Low Vision Tips  
Low Vision Aids for Distance Low Vision Rehabilitation  

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Living with Low Vision
Many people live with vision that limits their everyday activities, a condition known as low vision. Low vision may involve blurryness, poor central vision, loss of peripheral vision, or even double vision. Whatever the symptom, the immediate consequences are often the same — difficulty performing day-to-day activities such as reading a newspaper, using a computer, watching television, cooking a meal, or crossing the street. While there may not be a cure, there are low vision video magnifiers and other low vision aids to help.

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Low Vision Video Magnifiers
Video magnifiers enable individuals with low vision or visual disabilities to engage with essential, everyday activities and improves their quality of life. With these low vision reading aids, low vision individuals can read newspapers, medicine bottles and books; write checks, letters and correspond with friends; look at photographs and other items. Low Vision Video Magnifiers have radically changed low vision rehabilitation in the last ten years and continued improvements in technology make these low vision aids very effective tools.

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Low Vision CCTV's (Closed Circuit TeleVision)
Low vision cctvs or Video Magnifiers enable individuals with low vision or visual disabilities to engage with essential, everyday activities and improves their quality of life. With these low vision devices, low vision individuals can read newspapers, medicine bottles and books; write checks, letters and correspond with friends; look at photographs and other items. Low vision cctvs have radically changed low vision rehabilitation in the last ten years and continued improvements in technology make these low vision products very effective tools.

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Low Vision Aids for Reading
The most common video magnifier for reading is called a Desktop Video Magnifier. These low vision products feature a camera mounted over a tray on which the material to be magnified is placed. Some have a built-in monitor and are known as "stand-alone" magnifiers. Others are designed to connect to a television or personal computer.

Most desktop video magnifiers have a "reading tray" that holds the material to be magnified. This tray can be moved from side to side or forwards and backwards, in order to position the desired part of the material directly under the camera. The reading tray is known as an "X/Y tray," in reference to the x-y coordinates that indicate the horizontal and vertical position of points on a graph.

Desktop video magnifiers usually take about as much desk space as a personal computer, and perhaps a little more because of the need for free space in which to move the reading tray. Because of their built-in monitors, most stand-alone desktop models are too heavy to be called portable. Some weigh over 30 pounds. Desktop models that connect to a separate computer or a television are lighter but generally require the same amount of desk space.

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Low Vision Aids for Distance
Low vision aids for distance feature a 3 in 1 camera that allows the user to have all the benifits of a desktop video magnifier with the option of viewing objects at a distance such as: watching televsion or viewing a whiteboard at school. These magnifiers allow for the ability to magnify the users face and have hygenic and cosmetic applications. Due to the flexible design of distance viewing video magnifiers some are portable and are no more than 10-15 lbs.

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Low Vision Aids for Computer Use
Featured on the VIEW portable desktop video magnifier is a smart video port that lets you connect your VIEW to any XP or Vista Computer. Instead of writing in large print and filing papers - record, capture and store what you magnify. Record an entire classroom lesson or save a picture of your latest test for review later. And because your PC has virtually unlimited memory, you'll never have to worry about losing documents and losing time.

Featured on the InSight Desktop Video Magnifier and the Premiere Desktop Video Magnifier are smart video ports that let you connect to any XP or Vista Computer. Instead of using two screens, one for your computer and one for your magnifier - Use one screen for everything. Toggle between the computer image and table image by simply pressing a button.

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Low Vision Portable Products
The VIEW portable video magnifiers are amazing from all sides, the ultrathin 15-inch LED backlit monitor with 1680 x 1050 monitor resolution is integrated with no glare glass optics giving you vivid image quality and breathtaking clarity not found anywhere else. The VIEW features 2x -65x magnification giving one of the largest zoom ranges found on any portable video magnifier in the marketplace. The advanced precision glass optics provide a crisp image with absolutely no glare, and works together with monitor features such as 5 ms response time and 16 million color hues, creating a crisp and clear image. The VIEW sets the standard for autofocus technology on portable video magnifiers. It packs a high-performance camera into its precision engineered design. Morning newspapaers, magazines, bank statements and anything else placed on the reading tray will autofocus instantly reducing eye fatigue and save time.

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Low Vision Specialist
Low vision specialists are licensed doctors of optometry who are trained in the examination and management of patients with visual impairments. A few of them are ophthalmologists with additional training in low vision care. Their services do not offer a cure for the causes of low vision, but they do help the patient learn how to utilize their remaining vision to its fullest potential. Low vision care does not replace the possible need for other treatments such as laser, medication, and surgery.

Testing by a Low Vision Specialist

Low vision testing goes far beyond regular eye examinations. A careful assessment is made of the patient's vision, while exploring the effect of increasing the size of the image on the retina. Close attention is also given to the effects of decreased vision on the patient's lifestyle, and a plan is designed to meet the patient's needs and goals. A typical low vision examination takes about two hours and is covered by Medicare for qualifying individuals. The exam usually consists of:

1. A look at the patient's history, which can cover hobbies, daily life, educational background, current health, and goals for the future.
2. Testing of vision to make certain that current prescriptions are correct, in addition to an analysis of the patient's ability to see eccentrically, or "off-center." This is particularly useful for macular degeneration patients who have lost the use of their central vision.
3. Introduction of low vision aids for both near and distance viewing, and determination as to which devices will work best for the patient. These devices include magnifiers, closed circuit television systems (CCTVs), and independent living aids. The patient learns how to use these aids, while developing skills to maximize remaining vision.
4. Discussion of recommended adaptations to the patient's home and work environment.
5. Discussion of types of lenses which can help to cut brightness, glare, and ultraviolet rays. 6. Scheduling of a home visit to help set up and demonstrate adaptive equipment, analyze lighting, mark appliances, and/or to inspect for safety.

A visit with a low vision specialist can help a visually-impaired person to lead a fully independent life despite visual restrictions. There are also low vision rehabilitation centers which house teams of low vision specialists, rehabilitation teachers, mobility/orientation specialists, occupational therapists, and other professionals in other areas as needed.

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Low Vision Tips
Many normal, age-related low vision conditions can be addressed with simple practical solutions, such as additional lighting for reading newspapers or tinkering with cooking dinner.

You may find you need additional lighting for most tasks performed indoors. This is because your eye's pupil no longer opens as widely as it once did to allow light to enter. Because less light is reaching your retina where vision processing occurs, images are no longer as sharp as they once were.

To help correct this problem, please consider steps such as:

• Installing task lighting underneath kitchen cabinets or above stoves to help illuminate darker corners.
• Making sure you have enough lighting to brighten work surfaces in your garage, sewing room, or other areas where you need to see fine details.
• Asking your employer to install additional lighting, if needed, at your work space.

The advice of a low vision optometrist or an assistive technology specialist is often valuable, but it is the person with the disability who ultimately chooses to use the magnifier or let it gather dust. With this fact in mind, the person who will actually use the magnifier should always be the primary decision maker in the selection and purchase of a video magnifier.

Someone who is considering buying a video magnifier but who lacks experience actually using one may feel unsure which of the many video magnifier types and features would be best, or even whether a video magnifier is better than other options. What can the potential buyer do to make the right decision?

Many will find it helpful to consult a low vision optometrist or assistive technology specialist before making a decision. Both can provide information and advice regarding the full range of available options for people with low vision, which may include speech output and braille as well as lenses and electronic magnifiers.

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Low Vision Rehabilitation
If you, or someone you know, suffers from a vision impairment, ask your optometrist about low vision rehabilitation. An optometrist who provides low vision rehabiliative services can provide the help and resources needed to gain back the independence and freedom that once seemed lost. People with low vision can be taught a variety of techniques to perform daily activities with what vision remains. There are government and private programs that offer educational and vocational counseling, occupational therapy, rehabilitation training, and more.

Experts agree that low vision does not have to diminish the quality of life. As of October 1999 both the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology have called for Medicare coverage of low vision rehabilitation services. Many Medicare carriers now have policies in place that cover some of the vision rehabilitation services; ask your optometrist's office about this type of coverage.

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