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Better quality of life and more independence: better vision with low vision devices

What possibilities exist when even glasses are no longer enough?

16 October 2019
  • A man checks mobil phone and wears eye glasses with an inetgrated loupe.

Whether through an illness, an accident or with age, low vision is something that can happen to any of us at any time. Individually fitted low vision devices can help wearers to see better and restore a little normality and independence to their lives.

We would like to provide you with some information about what modern low vision devices can and should do, and about what aspects you should pay special attention to when buying them and what alternatives are available.

When their vision deteriorates to such an extent that even glasses do not suffice for reading or enjoying your hobby, most people resort to using a magnifier. But even simple magnifiers display major quality differences between low-end models and products specially fitted by a qualified eye care professional. So, it is really important to first familiarise yourself with the quality criteria that apply to low vision aids.

Achieving the best possible visual performance for your eyes and convenient use are the basic requirements

The topmost objective is to achieve the best possible visual performance for each wearer in line with the requirements of the task to be performed and the situation. Furthermore, it is important to select the visual device in accordance with the capabilities of the wearer: he or she must be able to use it easily and effortlessly.

Quality criteria for low vision devices

Image quality and the size of the field of view are primarily the factors that determine the quality of a low vision product. As the field of view decreases with increasing magnification, it is extremely important that the best possible optics are selected, but with the lowest magnification necessary. This is the only way to avoid rapid eye fatigue.

Plastic lenses featuring a protective hard coating are recommended for low vision devices to ensure optimum resistance to scratching and breakage.

You can also equip low vision products with an illumination system. Older people in particular need more light to see better.   

What low vision devices are available?

  • Hand-held magnifiers

    Simple and functional and yet customised: the design of the optics, above all, determines whether you really enjoy better vision. Hand-held magnifiers are available with high-quality aspheric lenses that come standard with a protective hard coating. They are also optionally available with a multilayer, broadband antireflection coating. The coating also facilitates vision for tasks where precision is a must. The protective hard coating – a standard feature – enhances the device’s durability and increases its possible fields of use.

    Illuminated magnifiers

    Reading is twice as difficult in unfavourable light: the quality of your vision decreases with reduced contrast. The illuminated pocket and stand magnifiers compensate for the missing light. With its low power consumption and long life, the homogenous LED illumination is particularly beneficial.

    Pocket magnifiers

    Simply put them in your pocket and see better when you are out and about: precision work, recognising even the finest details – these are tasks any of us may be confronted with in our everyday lives.

  • Magnifying bifocals

    Far and near in one. As their name suggests, these offer two powers in a single lens. You can use the upper part for orientation in your surroundings and the lower part for close-up vision.

  • Telescopic spectacles

    Flexible for near and far: visual performance can partly be improved through telescopic spectacles in which magnifying optical systems are incorporated. In principle, these are “mini telescopes” for better distance vision. By simply attaching additional magnifiers to the telescopes, you can then use the device for near vision.

    With magnifiers, the working distance may become too small over time – when reading a book, for example. Telescopic spectacles enable a comfortable working distance again. The required magnification is of decisive importance for reading and can be specially set with telescopic spectacles. However, these magnifying visual devices can also be used for middle distances, e.g. for watching TV. In these spectacles the poorer eye is covered, and the better eye is provided with a small telescope.   

    But please note that telescopic spectacles are suitable for stationary use only, and not for mobile use as this would lead to eyestrain.

    Hand-held telescopes

    Hand-held telescopes offer more mobility. It is frequently the little things that make it almost impossible to be mobile without assistance from other people. Details either in the distance or close-up, such as street names, house numbers or bus timetables, simply cannot be read. Small, inconspicuous hand-held telescopes provide additional safety when you are moving around outdoors. Whether you wear them around your neck or insert them in your jacket pocket, they are always ready to use in next to no time.

    With a practical and attractive design, they feature field of view and, of course, coated optics.

  • Filter lenses

    Filter lenses are helpful for people whose retinas react sensitively to scattered light or glare. Even with standard illumination, vision may be very strenuous for anyone this condition.

    No uniform, objective criteria exist for prescribing special filter lenses. Instead, particularly in cases of degenerative eye disease such as retinitis pigmentosa or diabetic retinopathy, patients normally select a suitable special filter lens by trying on various alternatives.

    They choose the optimum lens by comparing and assessing the visual comfort provided in each case. Binocular lorgnettes or filter clips are available for this purpose.

    With a practical and attractive design, they feature field of view and, of course, coated optics.

    Many patients need special filter lenses for different light conditions. They therefore often have several pairs of glasses or filter clips with different filter lenses.

    Our tip: Check with your health insurers to determine whether they are prepared to finance the costs involved.

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