March 21, 2019
Choosing a Low-Vision Device
Wellness Tip

Choosing a Low-Vision Device

by Wellness Letter  

If you have low vision (severe visual impairment that is not fully correctable with regular glasses), talk to your eye doctor about low-vision devices.

You may be referred to an optometrist or ophthalmologist who specializes in low vision and in prescribing such devices, which range from simple optical aids to more advanced and more expensive technologies, as well as devices that help you navigate the environment. Several devices, including both near and distance ones, may be recommended for different activities.

The high-end OrCam My Eye ($4,500) utilizes artificial intelligence to read aloud printed text, aid in color detection, and recognize faces, money, and products.

To find a low-vision specialist near you, go to this directory and click “low vision services” under “categories.” Another resource is the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists. Be wary of over-the-counter devices—you may end up wasting your money.

This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Also see Common Eye Disorders Explained: Cataracts, Glaucoma, AMD.