Electronic low vision products are available in a variety of portable and desktop models. The portable models are lightweight and are used by people on the go. Some desktop models are computer compatible and can interface with mainstream technology to make access to information seamless.
Electronic Video Magnifiers (CCTV)
Electronic Video Magnifiers or CCTV have radically changed low vision rehabilitation and maximized what people with a visual impairment can do. When used in the home and in the office, they play an important role in the lives of visually impaired individuals. For any one with a moderate to severe vision loss, they also allow a more comfortable reading posture and allow a greater working distance from the reading material. For people with a mild visual impairment they offer a wider visual field for viewing reading material as compared to a magnifier. Video magnifiers help people accomplish their daily activities leading to independent productive lives.
How do video magnifiers work?
View the Optelec US YouTube channel to see how they work!
A video magnifier uses a video camera to project a magnified image onto a video monitor, a television (TV) screen, or a computer monitor. Cameras with zoom lenses provide variable magnification. Many systems use an auto-focus camera.
Desktop video magnifiers use cameras that are mounted on a fixed stand and require the reading material to be placed under the camera and the reading material is then moved across and down the page. To make the process of viewing easier, a table that is movable from the top of the page to the bottom and side-to-side (referred to as an XY table) is used with most stand-mounted cameras. Stand-mounted cameras are particularly effective for handwriting and doing crafts because a hand can fit under the camera. Most video magnifiers have color monitors that are useful for viewing materials such as photographs and maps where seeing color is crucial. All video magnifiers also offer the option of viewing black letters on a white background or white letters on a black background. This offers enhanced contrast of text and reduced glare. Many video magnifiers also provide other special on-screen features and controls including underlining of text. Some systems work jointly with a computer, offering the option of sharing the computer monitor.
The Optelec ClearView+ desktop video magnifies images while maintaining perfect focus.
Advantages of a video magnifier:
- Newer models are very easy to use, even for the elderly.
- Video magnifiers provide up to 75X magnification. Reading glasses and magnifiers can only be made up to 15X-20X power.
- Contrast enhancement makes print easier to see.
- Video magnifiers also control glare, as the background of any reading material can be made black with white print.
When using a video magnifier a person can read with a great deal of magnification and still be at a comfortable distance from the reading material. When reading with strong glasses or a magnifier, the reading material and magnifier must be placed within inches of the eye.