by Karl Arnold Belser
(Dialogue Magazine Winter 2003)
have central vision loss such that I can’t see a person’s
head if I looked directly at him from 4 feet away.
This type of vision loss is typical of macular
My low vision
optometrist recently told me
that many of her
low vision patients are discouraged and refuse to try any visual aides. Since I have successfully
compensated for my
low vision (Dialog Magazine Spring 2003), I am sharing my methods in
article as a motivation for others to try adapting.
three aids that are with me all of the time:
special pair of glasses, a special type of
telescope, and a digital pocket voice recorder.
devices cost $500, $115, and $100, respectively.
think that $715 is a low price for
adaptation to low vision.
correct measurement is easily made by wearing frames
with thin plastic sheets where the lenses should be.
The frames usually come with these fake lenses. The optician can put a dot
on the plastic
sheet in front of each pupil with a felt pen.
placement of the dots gives the correct lens center
have a powerful magnifying lens in the bottom third
of my right lens opening. I
most powerful magnifier lens available, which is about +24 diopters. The large diopter lens has
a short focus
point. This means
that I have to hold
whatever I am looking at so close that my nose practically touches the
page. The high
magnification allows me to
even small print with my peripheral vision, and it only took me a week
practice to master. I
just laugh with
the people who ask me what I’m smelling.
the +24 diopter lens is much stronger than most
hand held magnifying lenses, making the print being read very large. It is difficult to control
the spacing of
both the lens and the reading material with this high magnification. So mounting the lens
securely on the glasses
frame leaves both hands free to hold the reading material at the proper
put the magnifying lens on one side because I need
the peripheral vision looking down to avoid tripping.
Further I can only use one eye at a time because of
short focal distance.
important aid is an extra short focus telescope.
Short Focus” is the operative phrase.
means that the telescope can be focused
to about 12 inches away. This
focus is an absolute necessity for looking at objects in glass display
a museum or a store.
telescopes can be purchased from LS&S.
them a 1-800-468-4789 and ask for a
currently use a Walters 8x21
model 101-083. I
need the 8X
magnification to be able to read the white board from the front row in
classroom, read menu boards at McDonalds and to watch soap operas in
bed. I also want
the length of the
be about 3.5 inches so that I can fit it in my shirt pocket with the
around my neck. Low
usually have a wide range of magnifications for patients to try. Find out what telescope
you like, and then
order it directly from LS&S from LS&S, Independent
or Ann Morris Enterprises 800-454-3175.
will cost less.
don’t see well enough to read my own handwriting
and it is very hard to print and read using the magnifying lens, so I
make written notes to myself.
I use a small solid-state voice recorder for taking notes, the Sony model ICD-P17. It can record up to 4.5 hours and has a USB computer connection so that I can file the notes on my computer. There are a large number of voice recorders on the market. I chose the Sony because it was very thin. I keep the recorder in my front pants pocket.II encourage anyone with low vision to try to adapt themselves to their environment as much as possible. I have described how I adapted to my type of vision loss, but there are techniques to compensate for any condition. You may have to invent the techniques for your own case as I have done. So don’t give up.
updated November 11, 2005
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