Category Archives: Low Vision Aids

Monitoring the Progression of Age Related Macular Degeneration

Technology for monitoring those at risk for the progression to Wet AMD

Those with age-related AMD are familiar with the Amsler Grid.  The grid is a cheap and easy,

A normal appearing grid

method of self monitoring for changes in vision related to the central vision.   The grid is usually given to those patients with macular changes by their examining eye doctor.  Traditionally, it is a piece of paper or card with the grid printed on it.  The grid is held at 10 inches from the eye (the other eye is closed) and observe: are there any broken lines, missing squares, doubling of the lines, wavy lines?  The appearance of the grid should be consistent from day to day.

Dry AMD can be a slow,  progressive decline in vision. The

Grid appears distorted

intent is to keep the patient alert to the status of their vision. It is very common for people to be unaware of changes to vision, especially for those with dry AMD.

There is another category of AMD referred to as ‘wet’ AMD.  This is a much faster, progressing sight-threatening stage of AMD.  About 10% to 15% of those with dry AMD will progress to wet AMD.  If you have been identified by your eye care doctor as someone who is at risk for wet AMD, there is a technology designed to monitor and identify the onset of wet  AMD sooner.  The sooner, the better.  The sooner treatment has begun, the more sight can be saved.

The devise is called ForeseeHome by Notal Vision.  It is a table top monitoring device to be

ForeseeHome tabletop monitor

used daily . The test takes about 3 minutes per eye.  The test results are sent to Notal Vision.  If changes are detected, Notal Vision notifies you eye care doctor.  The plan is for  your doctor’s office to call to make an appointment for you to see the doctor.  In this way you can receive prompt treatment to preserve your vision.

How to get hooked up with this system:

First, you must be identified by your doctor as being at risk for developing wet AMD.  It is also the first step to getting help through insurance to get coverage for the system.

ForeseeHome test screen

Follow this link for doctors in your area who participate in this Notal  Vision program: Find a Doctor 

The set up is quite easy.  You do not need a computer or even wifi.  The Notal company has a phone number to help you get set up.

To see a video on how it works, follow this link:  ForeseeHome video

Telescopes as Distance, Intermediate, and Near Low Vision Aids

Telescopes and binoculars are multi-lens devices that are used  primarily for viewing the distance, but can be adapted for use at closer distances. While most of us are familiar with the common celestial telescopes and bird-watching binoculars, the systems for use by those with low vision are miniaturized.  Continue reading Telescopes as Distance, Intermediate, and Near Low Vision Aids

Eyeglasses Used for Magnification

Adapting to low vision should start with a comprehensive eye examination to optimize your vision with the best eyeglass prescription. This prescription is for distance and near viewing. What defines those with low vision is that even with the best prescription, they are unable to get perfect vision.  More is needed. Continue reading Eyeglasses Used for Magnification

Hand-held Magnifiers

Hand-held magnifiers can be found almost anywhere. These magnifiers come in many styles, sizes, and magnification powers. Commonly, they are sold as either round or rectangular clear lenses, with a handle. Other types include small pocket magnifiers and a plastic ‘card’ style.


Hand-held magnifiers
Hand-held magnifiers

The actual amount of magnification that you get form a hand-held magnifier is variable and dependent on how you use it. Optical lenses have an optical property called focal length. If the lens is held above the page, at the focal length, you will get the magnification indicated by the manufacturer. If you hold it closer to the page, at a distance less than the focal length, you will get less magnification.  Magnification is also dependent on whether you wear your distance glasses, your bifocals, or no glasses at all. Continue reading Hand-held Magnifiers

Low Vision Aids for the Visually Impaired

Browse any of the internet sites, like Amazon or  Independent Living, Aids and you will see a vast array of devices called ‘low vision aids.’   Low vision aids can be anything from bold lined paper to the desktop CCTV (closed circuit television).

Simplified, the low vision aids can be divided into 3 basic  categories:

  1. Objects modified for use by the visually impaired;
  2. Optical devices; and
  3. Electronic technology.

Continue reading Low Vision Aids for the Visually Impaired

Introduction to Assistive Technology for Low Vision

Familiar to us is the term low vision aides.  Most commonly this term is associated with high powered eyeglasses and magnifiers.  Assistive technology refers to  low vision aids, both high tech and low tech. They are devices and products designed to level the playing field for those with visual impairments. With assistive technology, students can keep up with their classmates and move efficiently through the higher levels of education.  The working visually impaired can maintain employment with the right assistive technology in place. When we are not working or going to school, assistive technology helps with activities of daily living. It keeps the visually impaired active, engaged, and independent. Continue reading Introduction to Assistive Technology for Low Vision