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The Latest in Low Vision Aids to Increase Independence

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The national eye institute estimates that by 2050 the number of people with visual impairment and blindness in the U.S. will double to 8 million. Low vision can result from a number of causes and can lead to depression in patients who struggle to read, write, watch TV, see distant objects or enjoy their hobbies. Often ophthalmologists will refer patients to low vision optometrists. These ECPs work with the patient to choose a device that allows them to perform routine daily activities and regain some lost independence. There are many aids to choose from including illuminated magnifiers, special tinted lenses for contrast, portable video magnifiers or wearable technology based on magnification. Now there’s even artificial computer vision programs that can verbalize information to a patient.  


Enhanced Vision

Mojo electronic monocular

(888) 811-3161 | enhancedvision.com 


1655 1 Touch small
Eschenbach

Visolux Digital XL FHD portable video magnifier with interactive touch screen, speech output and camera.

(800) 487-5389 | eschenbach.com


Ocutech

VES Falcon autofocus bioptic telescope

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(800) 326-6460 | ocutech.com 


OrCam Technologies

MyEye 2 artificial vision device

(800) 713-3741 | orcam.com 


HIMS

GoVision PRO HD video magnifier

(888) 520-4467 | hims-inc.com 


Smart Ways to Sell Low Vision Aids

Dr. Tom Porter ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY, ST. LOUIS, MO

Over my career, I estimate I’ve seen 35,000 low vision patients. Prior to a visit with me, I ask patients to make a note of what they can’t do and what they want to do with their current level of vision. I call these notes their visual goals. My clinical exam then addresses the power of the low vision aid they’ll need by looking at the duration of the task at hand and the level of working distance required to complete it. I view all low vision aids as tools and sometimes patients need to use multiple aids to solve the problem. I use virtually every manufacturer’s brand for one application or another. We still use a lot of illuminated hand-held and stand magnifiers, small video magnifiers, telescopic low vision aids that are hand-held or spectacle mounted and tinted lenses either as a slipover or custom prescription.

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Dr. Bryan Wolynski GLASSES ON FIRST, NEW YORK CITY

Every low vision patient is different and assisted technology is personal to that individual. After I get a referral from an ophthalmologist, I carry out a five-minute phone call with the patient. I want them to understand what low vision is all about and advise them not to get their hopes up too high. Many of them are depressed because their vision isn’t what it used to be. Once I explain what I can do for them, I find that sets us up for success. I carry out a goal-oriented exam where history taking is important and I concentrate on their goals. Do they want to read a newspaper, an email, or a book? I give them a packet that explains that the cost of these devices can range from $100s to $1,000s of dollars. Medicare should cover the cost but it doesn’t, so patients pay for themselves. I carry a range of daily living aids from high-powered magnification glasses to telescopes to head-worn devices. My favorites are Ocutech’s bioptics and OrCam’s wearable technology.

Carol Gilhawley is a contributing writer for INVISION.

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