Why Simply Prescribing a Reading Device May Be a Shortsighted Solution for Low Vision Patients, Part 2
It’s understandable why low vision prescribers quickly turn to magnifiers for their low vision patients. Reading is typically the first activity that a patient hopes to improve so many low vision product conversations begin on the topic. Additionally, magnifiers are familiar to most patients and are easy for prescribers to demonstrate, as lighting can be controlled and the print can be shown in high contrast.
New digital technology solutions exist to help low vision patients access printed material like electronic magnifiers, text to speech converters (even available on smart phones), ebooks, radio reading services, and recorded books. However, improving access to print does not address a major component of our day-to- day lives—seeing at a distance. Distance vision is an important social sense; allowing us to make eye contact, read body language and subsequently, feel more connected and engaged to loved ones and the world around us. Loss of distance vision directly impacts quality of life in ways that reading vision does not. While there are a myriad of ways to access the printed word, no one can see the world around you…for you.
While reading is certainly important, many low vision patients don’t realize that they will benefit from a distance low vision device that can help them in social situations as well.
The Bottom Line: Loss of distance vision usually impacts independence and self-worth much more than the inability to read. It is important for prescribers to educate patients on all low vision device options so they can work in harmony to find the solutions to address the full range of activities they face in their every day life.