For low vision specialists and those who consult them
Aesthetics of low vision aids
September 23, 2009Posted by on
As a low vision clinician, one of the most dispiriting experiences is demonstrating that a telescope or other low vision aid can enable a task to be performed, only to hear “yes, but I don’t think I’d use it” (or worse, laughter when you show someone a device and explain it may be useful).
It is particularly difficult when children accept a device but their parents are reluctant to let the child use it. In some cases this is because they think that it will lead to their child being bullied; in others because they think their child will become dependent on it; and sometimes because it will change other peoples’ perception of their child.
There are obviously many reasons which underlie this response, such as the psychological reactions to sight loss (accepting that extra help beyond ‘nornal’ glasses is required is a huge, almost life-changing adjustment), but I think some responsibility must lie with device manufacturers.
Electronic devices are great in this regard: systems like the SenseView and compact+ look more like PDAs or video game players than assistive devices. This will only improve as technology advances: at envision Bob Massof showed images of the earliest LVES head mounted electronic magnifier and it’s ten times the size of today’s best devices.
Whilst optical devices must by their nature be fairly big and bulky, that doesn’t mean they can’t look cool as well. I would welcome an illuminated stand magnifier that didn’t look like a child’s torch, or an increase in the number of pleasingly designed telescopes like the Eschenbach microlux. I hope that device manufacturers think more about this.
There won’t be any updates to lowvisionnews for the next ten days or so, but I will be back with some more scientific posts then…