Devices to Help the Vision Impaired
These devices are products designed either to make it easier for the vision impaired to see or provide alternative methods that do not require strong vision. There are a variety of options available:
- Prescription magnifying devices can be prescribed through a referral from an optometrist to a low vision clinic. These are specialised to the needs of the client.
Sheets and Glasses
- Magnifying sheets and glasses are availble to assist with reading.
Lamps with In-built Devices
- Lamps with in-built magnification devices and devices worn around the neck are available to allow for hands-free use.
Close Circuit Magnification
- Close circuit magnification devices allow the print in books to be shown enlarged on a TV screen.
Large Print Materials
- Books, calendars and teledexes with large print are available to make reading easier.
- Large playing cards and Bingo cards are both easier to see and hold.
- Songbooks and board games in large print are avilable, in addition to to tactile board games.
- Watches with large print faces are available.
- These are devices with voice output so strong vision is not necessary for use. Talking watches and clocks are available for easy time-telling, talking kitchen scales are available for accurate measurement and talking calculators are also available.
- Plates with a sloping end enables the spoon or fork to be pushed towards one end.
- Plate guards can prevent spillage and assist with getting food onto cutlery.
- Knife guides assist with safe cutting in the kitchen.
Liquid Level Sensors
- Liquid level sensors give an audible signal when a cup or glass is full to prevent spillage.
General Household Aids
- Finger guides are available to assist with accessing dialling buttons.
Large Button Phones
- Large button phones allow a larger surface for the visually impaired person to feel the correct buttons when dialling and also have larger text.
- Coin and cash identifiers aid with sorting money by touch and assist with organisation.
These products and many others are available from the Royal Blind Association.
Getting Out and About
Mobility instructors can provide advice and training regarding access and mobility within the community as well as advice regarding mobility aids such as white canes.
Additional Tips for Living with Impaired Vision
- Ruled writing pads, felt pens and signature guides can assist with writing
Lighting and Colour
- Control settings on computers can be adjusted to give high contrast colours to assist with visual focussing
- Ensure adequate lighting is available to maximise sight. Colour contrast also aids sight.
- Organisation in the home, in particular storing things in consistent places, allows for ease of searching without strong visual requirements
- "Safe proofing" the environment to ensure that there are no obstacles on the floor that may be difficult to see or manoeuvre around
Having a "Buddy"
- Having a "Buddy" who can offer cues and assist in orienting the visually impaired person
Carer Gateway Website
If the person you care for is legally blind or vision-impaired, a range of special services and technologies is available to help, including services from governments and organisations such as Vision Australia. If your own sight is deteriorating, an optometrist or ophthalmologist will need to investigate and treat it if necessary. As a carer, planning ahead can often help you avoid or manage a crisis.