Macular Degeneration?

Wearable video magnifiers are changing lives for those with AMD and severe low vision conditions.

In the United States, one in 28 citizens ages 40 and older has low vision. That’s the loss of sight not correctable with prescription lenses, medication or surgery. Low vision includes various degrees of visual impairment, from poor night vision to legal blindness.

Bob Schrepfer, president of The Magnification Company in St. Petersburg, discusses wearable magnification devices for people with severe vision loss.

One of the functions of AceSight is to magnify printed materials or objects (as shown here with a can of soup), increasing its size 15 times.

“Many eye conditions can lead to low vision. Among the most common are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy,” notes Bob Schrepfer, president of The Magnification Company
in St. Petersburg.

“Having severe low vision or being told by your eye care professional that you are legally blind does not mean that your visual independence is coming to an end.”

The good news is that with low vision or legal blindness, some sight is still present that can be enhanced by video magnifiers. These devices greatly enlarge materials to read and write, and they allow users to play music, play cards, view TV and computer screens, and recognize faces.

“The Magnification Company provides hundreds of innovative portable, desktop and wearable video magnifying products to help people with low vision regain their visual independence,” Bob describes. “We’re the only company in the state of Florida that provides all of these new wearable video magnifiers under one umbrella.

“While every device has its benefits, the wearable video magnifiers we offer are opening up a whole new world of visual independence to people who are legally blind. It is so rewarding to see people’s lives change when they can see the details of a loved ones face across the room, recognize objects and print inside their homes and on the go, as well as enlarge print to a whole new level of size that conventional hand-held magnifiers cannot do.

“The new wearable video magnifiers are changing people’s lives because instead of being confined to a magnifying machine that they bring reading materials to, they wear these  over their eyes to read and view whatever they want to see.”

Four Times the Technology 

With the release of a new AceSight® magnifier by Zoomax, the Pico e2 by NuEyes® and the revised IrisVision Live 3.0 device by IrisVision® at the end of February, Bob and his team at The Magnification Company now offer four models of wearable electronic magnifiers. Each wearable has features that address certain patient needs and has limitations based on weight, magnification range, ease of use and battery life.

“The original NuEyes is one wearable option that’s been out for about two and a half years,” Bob relates. “Its major drawback is that it has a limited field of view. The NuEyes Pico e2, released in February, has a one hundred degree field of view, a high-definition camera and will convert text-to-speech.”

All of the four new wearable devices have a “free-floating” reading option. The video camera on the front of the headpiece takes a photo of what the wearer is looking at, freezes the image on the internal screen and allows the displayed image to be viewed hands free.

“The IrisVision and NuEyes Pico e2 include an added value of being able to convert that text to speech, therefore reading your materials for you,” Bob explains. “People can have their mail, newspaper, magazine, recipe, almost any item that has print on it, be either magnified or read to them with these two wearables.”

The IrisVision, which has been out for about two years, is another totally hands-free wearable option. It magnifies distant, intermediate and near vision. It can increase or decrease magnification anywhere from one to 24 times, with a 70 degree field of view.

“With the IrisVision on, people can see across a room, recognize facial expressions, read text and access digital media,” Bob observes. “IrisVision uses a readily available but highly sophisticated virtual reality platform, which solves visual problems as well as keeps the units cost-efficient.

“One of the other attributes of IrisVision is it has its own internal battery. When it’s fully charged, it lasts for about three and a half hours of continuous use. If people need more, we provide a battery adapter that goes into a port underneath the unit. That will keep it going for as much as eight hours of continuous use.”

Bob Schrepfer, president of The Magnification Company in St. Petersburg, discusses wearable magnification devices for people with severe vision loss.

The Magnification Company offers a variety of devices to help those with low vision.

The fourth and newest model of wearable electronic magnifiers is the AceSight. This product uses augmented reality imaging, which offers second-to-none optical clarity for watching television and working on computers. It also provides exceptional stability for hands-free activities such as playing music and cooking.

“The AceSight is an improvement over the IrisVision. It offers  more magnification, is  lighter in weight on the face and allows the wearer to walk around with a bit more comfort and ease. It also lasts for more than four hours on a full charge.”

An advantage of AceSight over many other wearables is its unique open design that does not block the wearer’s peripheral vision. That and the model’s fast display rate result in an always smooth image as wearers move their heads to look around. This also reduces any risk of dizziness with those that are motion sickness sensitive.

“Looking through the AceSight wearable video magnifier feels like looking at a fifty-inch screen several feet away,” Bob describes.

More Possibilities

Anyone can be affected by low vision, but it’s more common as people get older. That’s true, in part, because conditions that often lead to low vision, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, most commonly develop with age. And the best way to catch and control the disorders that cause low vision is through routine eye exams by an eye care specialist.

Often, people diagnosed with low vision are referred to low vision specialists, who may recommend various magnifying devices to enhance remaining vision. These include the wearable electronic magnifiers.

Wearable electronic magnifiers offer people with low vision more possibilities than their portable and desktop counterparts. With their larger fields of view and increased magnification, they make the world bigger and clearer. Being hands-free, they enable wearers to be fully mobile. The bottom line: If your visual acuity ranges from 20/100 to 20/800 (legally, blindness is defined as starting at 20/200), chances are one of these new wearable video magnifiers would greatly improve your visual independence!

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    • The Magnification Company

      Envision a bigger, brighter world The Magnification Company brings you the latest & most effective magnifying devices and low-vision services to help you achieve & maintain your visual independence. ... Read More

    • Bob Schrepfer

      Bob Schrepfer, owner and president of The Magnification Company has dedicated more than 30 years to helping those with low vision regain their independence with high-powered magnifying devices. He also offers entertaining and informati... Read More