Technology And Tools

There are many tools and technology options that can reduce the impact of vision loss, and help you to continue to be independent in your home and community.

Many children and adults with a vision loss will use technology everyday. Sometimes it will be the same technology everyone uses, and sometimes it will be especially designed for people with vision loss.

Individual needs and technology will change over time so it is useful to keep up to date. Many different options can be found through contacting your local blindness organisation or through an internet search.

Low vision optical devices use lenses to magnify images so that objects or print appear larger to the eye. Examples include magnifying reading glasses, stand magnifiers, hand-held magnifiers, and small pocket-sized telescopes. These special optical devices are different from regular glasses and magnifiers. It is helpful to think of low vision optical aids as specific tools for specific uses. These are not intended as all-purpose aids. It is critical that someone with low vision gets the correct magnifier at the correct strength so do seek professional advice.

Non-optical devices and modifications do not use lenses to magnify images. Instead, they increase lighting levels, improve contrast, decrease the effects of glare, or increase print size to make objects and print more easily visible. There are hundreds of devices that can help people with low vision manage their everyday living tasks. Examples include high-intensity table or floor lamps, large print reading materials, electronic video magnifiers, and iPads and tablets. Absorptive lenses are sunglasses that filter out ultraviolet and infrared light, reduce glare, and increase contrast. Non-optical devices can also be used in combination with magnifiers and other low-vision optical devices.

Adaptive daily living equipment includes devices that are designed to make everyday tasks easier to do with little or no vision. For example tools for:

Independent movement and travel such as getting around indoors, walking with a guide, using a long white cane, crossing streets, using public transportation, and using electronic travel devices and mobile apps.

Independent living and personal management such as preparing meals, managing money, labelling medications, making home repairs, reading, writing and studying, enjoying crafts, hobbies, and shopping. Clocks and timers with large numerals, writing guides, needle threaders, large print or talking watches, large print and tactile labels, and talking pill bottles are examples of such equipment.

Lighting Depending on your eye condition, controlling light intensity, minimising glare and maximising contrast for specific tasks can be helpful. There are a range of general and task focussed lighting available and can be useful to explore what works best.

Low vision specialists

Call on a low vision specialist to help you make the best use of your remaining vision. The assessment can include identifying ways to better manage everyday tasks such as reading, writing, walking, navigation, grooming, cooking, cleaning and leisure activities.

Your local blindness organisation, such as Vision Australia, will be able to put you in touch with a low vision specialist.

Job training and vocational rehabilitation services

To help you to gain and retain employment, organisations such as Vision Australia can help with job training and vocational rehabilitation services, placement, workplace adaptations, and workplace technology.

Note: Vision Australia can be contacted on 1800 220 679