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Visual Impairment Aids

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Visual Impairment Aids
The following is a brief guide to some of the many products that can help people with limited vision to live more independently and to enjoy greater freedom in their daily lives. However, please note that every individual's needs are different. Customers should base their purchasing decisions on the user's particular needs and preferences and, where appropriate, upon advice from medical and care professionals.

What Kind of Aids are Available?

There are now many assistive devices for people with limited vision who wish to retain their independence in the home. Some are simply oversized versions of ordinary household products such as TV remote controls with large, high-contrast controls, whilst others utilise advanced technology to enable a wide variety of domestic items to be identified. Some examples include:

  • Big button telephones - look out for products that have clear, high contrast buttons, possibly with backlighting to ensure greater visibility in low light. Other useful features include single-button memory dialling or picture phones, which enable the user to dial a pre-programmed numbers simply by pressing a photo on the keypad. This feature removes the need to dial long numbers and is also helpful for people who may be prone to confusion.

  • Large format items - examples include oversized TV remote controls or computer keyboards with large, high visibility keys.

  • Audio labelling devices - these ingenious systems allow the user to make customised labels for all manner of household items, such as canned food or bottles, or to add important notes to calendars and shopping lists. A short message, corresponding to the label, can then be recorded and the system will play it back when the reader is passed over the label.
  • Clocks, watches and kitchen scales - look for products with large, clear numbering and high contrast characters - typically black on white. Some systems feature backlighting and a speaking function that can be used to reveal the time, date or weight.

  • Braille aids - Braille can be extremely useful to people with visual impairments and manufacturers have now developed various products that make use of it. Examples include Braille-labelled plug grips that make it easy to recognise which plug matches which appliance, and Braille pill organisers that enable the user to select the right tablets for the right day.

  • Magnifying glasses and reading aids - this is quite a broad category of visual impairment aids because there are devices for different applications. Simple magnifying glasses should be light and wieldy with a comfortable, easy-grip handle. Many also come with additional built-in lenses to give extra magnification, and with integrated lights to enhance visibility in darker conditions. Also available are hands-free magnifiers that can be worn around the neck or placed on a table-top on their own adjustable stands.

  • Electronic magnifiers - with displays that are often brighter and significantly more powerful than conventional lenses, electronic magnifiers come in a variety of sizes and configurations. They range from small, hand-held devices with their own in-built screens, to systems that combine a television screen with a hand-held readerthat is used in a similar way to a computer mouse. Such systems can produce high contrast displays with very high magnification (e.g. 24x magnification on a 20 inch television screen.)

  • Extra bright reading / daylight lamps - products that give natural colour rendition and a brighter, higher contrast light that is ideal for people who enjoy reading or handicrafts. Look for lamps with low energy, daylight-coloured bulbs; 11 to 13W might be sufficient for a low level desk lamp but a higher floor-standing lamp might require as much as 27W.

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Complete Care Shop, a trading name of Nottingham Rehab Limited, seeks to ensure that the contents are accurate but visitors should be aware that every individual's needs are different. Customers should therefore base their purchasing decisions and other actions upon the user's particular needs and preferences and, where appropriate, upon advice from medical and care professionals. Please click to see our disclaimer.
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