ASSISTIVE TECH

Assistive Technology for Age-related Macular Degeneration

Technological advances make it possible for people with low vision to live and work in a world geared for people with normal vision. Here are some of the categories of technology a low-vision specialist will describe in more detail.

Eyeglasses with high-powered lenses

A good pair of eyeglasses maximizes whatever vision a person has. The obvious benefits can include high magnification and telescopic lenses. But there are subtler possibilities too: to reduce glare, to build high color contrast, to reposition images where they are part of the visual field.

Large-print reading materials

Accessible publishing offers books with large font sizes.

Clocks and phones

Large numbers, contrast colors, and talk functions make these clocks and phones easier to use.

Closed circuit television magnifiers

A CCTV magnifier is a combination of a camera and a TV screen. The camera, which offers varying amounts of magnification, is pointed at an object such as a book or handwork project. The magnified image of the object is sent to the screen of the television so that a person with low-vision can use the screen to work in real time on the object.

Hand-held and desk-top magnifiers

Low-vision magnifiers come in a huge range of strengths, to light and magnify objects such as books or projects. Features can include a contrasting color option (which make an image easier to see) and capturing an image, so the image can be moved to the best part of a person's visual field. Magnifiers come free standing or connected to computer systems.

Telescopic devices

These lenses bring faraway objects, such as writing on a blackboard, visually closer. Some are small enough to be mounted on eyeglasses. Some are connected to computers so the object can be viewed on the screen.

Reading devices

This term covers an array of devices which convert written text and into read-aloud speech. Some are connected to computers, some are free-standing and portable.

Computer software

Software programs can be installed on a person's computer to magnify the screen or convert text -- such as emails or the internet -- into speech.