Assistive Devices are one of the most important elements in our Vision Rehabilitation
Blindness and Low Vision, together known as Vision Impairment (VI), are conditions of the eye beyond cure by currently available surgical procedures or medicines. VI should be addressed by an individual Sight Evaluation, performed by a qualified vision rehabilitation specialist who will perform a low vision evaluation, and recommend Sight Enhancement where possible, using Assistive Devices. The Clinicians or Vision-Aid will also recommend standard Rehabilitation Methods like training in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) and learning of Computer operation by Low Vision or blind persons where appropriate.
For every case of VI, rehabilitation is individually prescribed, aimed at removing or alleviating the disability associated with the client’s vision impairment. The central idea is to manage the vision impairment and to enable the VI by alleviating the disability associated with impairment as much as possible with devices and training.
Devices for the blind/ severely impaired:
Assistive devices are mostly for the moderately Vision Impaired (Low Vision) persons though some devices like Canes, living aids, Braille tools for education, recreational tactile games, smartphones, computer accessibility tools/software and GPS serve the severely Vision Impaired (or Blind).
Figure: Braille Kit, Cane, Smartphone
Figure: Some daily Living aids- talking Thermometer, Kitchen safety tools
The technical principles used are creation of Illumination, Magnification, and Contrast for Low Vision and sensory substitution like Audio and Tactile for the blind.
Low vision devices:
Low vision devices include optical devices like magnifiers either spectacle based or handheld, illuminated magnifying systems, telescopes, binoculars etc. Non optical devices like reading stand, reading lamp, filters/ tints, signature guide, typoscopes / writing guides etc are prescribed either solely or in combination with optical devices.
Figure: Spectacle magnifier
Figure: Some devices for Contrast Enhancement
The advent of digital enhancement system is better accepted nowadays because reading is better enhanced with controls to change magnification, improve the brightness and contrast to better suit the preference of the person. Portable options of these digital devices make it even more convenient. Some of these devices come with mountable which facilitates writing.
Smart Vision Gen 2.0 is an affordable, innovative, made-in-India, AI-powered “Smart Glass”, the first of its kind brought to India by Vision-Aid in partnership with SHG Technologies of Bengaluru, in collaboration with Aravind Eye Hospital. This is a wearable device that helps the visually impaired read, navigate and recognize objects & people.
All of these devices, and many more, can be found in Vision-Aid resource centers.