Fortunately, the range of low vision aids available to assist with day to day activities if you have less than adequate sight is improving all the time. Here is an overview of some low vision aids you are sure to find useful: please send us an email if you are looking for anything in particular that you can’t find here – or if you come across something that you think we should include.
Low vision aids featured on this page:
Keep track of the time and make sure you don’t oversleep, with an alarm clock (left) with a number of clever features. The analogue face has large, clear numerals, and also shows the time in digital format. It will speak the time in response to the press of a button, and has an audible alarm function. You can programme it to announce the time every hour, if you wish.
A talking wristwatch (right) which combines a clear analogue face with a ‘speak the time’ function is also helpful. These are available in both analogue and digital versions, men’s and women’s styles. Spoken feedback assists with setting the correct time.
A landline telephone with big buttons makes dialling much easier. This one on the right also allows you to add pictures for your four most important numbers. Whether you opt for clear pictograms for emergency services, or photographs of family and friends, it makes the phone much more personal and intuitive to use.
A great addition to the range of mobile phones available for anyone with low vision – or if you just want a very simple phone that makes and receives calls, and doesn’t offer lots of features you don’t need. You customise your OwnFone with between two and twelve buttons, preprogrammed with the numbers you want to call. The buttons can have written names, images, or Braille labels. Available on a range of contracts, the handset can also last a year between charges in standby mode.
Another good solution for anyone with poor vision, who struggles to manage a mobile phone, is Fuss Free Phones’ operator-based service. You simply press a button on the back of the phone which puts you in touch with the operator.
They have details of your contacts, so you simply give them the name of the person you want to talk to, and they will put you through. They can also send text messages, read them back to you, and look things up on the internet, on your behalf.
You can bypass the problem of reading and/or dialling telephone numbers on your home landline with Easylink’s voice-activated dialler (shown left).
Completely compatible with the British landline system, the unit plugs between the phone and the wall socket, and can be used with every phone in the house. Just speak the name of the person you want to call!
Many options are available for magnifying text or pictures. An electronic magnifier (left), powered by AAA batteries, gives up to 4.5 x magnification, with a non-glare backlit screen. Easy to use and really portable, it is a very useful aid for children as well as adults with low vision. An inexpensive sheet magnifier (right) conveniently magnifies the page of a book or newspaper.
Many pocket calculators are so small and fiddly, it is next to impossible for any but the most nimble fingered and acute eyed to use them!
Apart from large clear buttons, you can find calculators that also speaks both the input figures and the results.
On the subject of fiddly buttons, a programmable remote control (right) which can be used to replace multiple standard remotes. This unit can learn from your existing controls, and it has large clear buttons with good tactile feedback. Compatible with all major brands of TV, DVD, set-top box, etc
Make writing as easy as possible with low vision: position yourself in good light; use a bold, black ink pen, so that you get maximum contrast for easier legibility; a notepad with raised or bold guidelines (right) will make it easier to keep straight!
There are large print and braille versions of diaries, calendars and address books, to help keep you organised; tactile and recordable greetings cards, to help you keep in touch.
Good daylight is the best for reading and detailed tasks – but it isn’t always available! A portable daylight lamp (left) which folds for travelling means that you can always have the right kind of light where you need it.
Talking Tins (right) let you record a voice label to identify the contents of tins and other containers. Re-recordable and reusable yellow top is fixed to any steel tin by its built-in magnets.