How can I manage my low vision?

Laura C. Fine, MD
The magnifying lens remains one of the most common tools to help compensate for low vision. Most magnifying lenses are made to be held, but some can be incorporated into the lens of a pair of prescription glasses and used for reading or detail work. Special lenses that work like miniature telescopes can be mounted on a pair of glasses and used for driving or watching a movie. Glasses with special filters or stand-mounted magnifiers containing a light source may help with excessive glare or reduced contrast (less distinction between light and dark). An expensive option is a device similar to something once featured in Star Trek: goggles that consist of two tiny high-definition television sets that display images recorded and enhanced by a digital camcorder

Electronic "talking" watches, alarm clocks, and calculators let people rely on their hearing rather than their vision. Listening to audiobooks is another popular option.

A simple desk lamp with a metal shade is one of the easiest ways to improve vision if you use it properly. Position the lamp so that the light shines directly onto the materials in front of you, rather than over your shoulder or high above you.

Other inexpensive, low-tech vision aids include large-print versions of playing cards, bingo cards, and push-button telephone pads. And, of course, many books and newspapers come in large-print versions.

Continue Learning about Visual Impairments

Visual Impairments

Optical issues with the eye are quite common, possibly because we started as cavemen who did not have to read tiny letters on a computer screen as you may be doing right now. Conditions that may be corrected with optics include as...

tigmatism, near and far sightedness and some forms of visual field distortion. Some eyes have trouble seeing color the way other's do. This is called color blindness, and is more common in men. As we age there are common diseases and concerns including cataracts and glaucoma. Having diabetes can make you more likely to develop retinopathy, when blood vessels in the retina break and leak into the eye. Some conditions may lead to partial or total blindness. Legal blindness is a legal term more than a medical one, but meeting the standard for legal blindness can qualify you for special help.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.