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The five most common low vision devices

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There are a growing number of people with vision impairments. Many people find that a low vision magnifier can assist with tasks such as reading the fine print, sewing or viewing classroom presentations. Increased demand for low vision devices means more choices are becoming available. More than 3.3 million Americans older than 40 already have blindness or
low vision — and that number is expected to increase to 5.5 million by 2020, according to the National Eye Institute.

Eyeglasses usually can correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. But, ordinary lenses don’t work for permanent blind spots in your visual field, caused by common eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. Be aware that one size does not fit all when it comes to low vision

Be aware that one size does not fit all when it comes to low vision devices. One particular kind of magnifier helpful to someone with peripheral vision loss, for example, might not work at all for someone with central vision loss.

If you need any low vision option, visiting a low vision specialist for expert guidance is important to find the right device for your specific needs, especially if you already have substantial vision loss. Before buying any low vision magnifier, take the time to explore the array of choices available in lenses, video camera

Before buying any low vision magnifier, take the time to explore the array of choices available in lenses, video camera magnifiers, and lighting. Think carefully about your goals, your budget and what features various devices offer so that you can better communicate your needs to your low vision expert.

The five most common low vision options for our patients are available in these general categories:
1. Lamps/Lighting
2. Low vision reading glasses
3. Handheld or stand magnifiers
4. Video camera magnifiers
5. Telescopes

While most private insurance and Medicare does not cover the cost of low vision devices at this time, to be best prepared, this is a general cost range for different devices:
Lamps or Lighting Sources, $90 to $300
Low vision reading glasses, $70 to $500
Handheld or stand magnifiers, $50 to $250
Video magnifiers, $500 to $3,000
Telescopes, $90 to $2,000

Never rush to buy an expensive device for yourself or a family member without doing some checking first. Finding the right low vision device is a very individual choice, depending on specific vision loss and needs.

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