How can I help people with low vision see better in the distance?

In my experience of working with people who have low vision the most common requirement is for help with reading. This help often takes the form of high add spectacles, hand-held magnifiers and/or stand magnifiers. However, some people require help with distance vision tasks.

People often ask for help in seeing the TV better. This is frequently best achieved by moving closer to the TV. Halving the TV viewing distance doubles the screen size. Some people prefer to sit at their normal distance and use a telescope. These are best mounted in a spectacle frame as it can be tiring to hold a telescope for long periods of time.

People with low vision who are of school or university age may need help to see what the teacher is writing on the board or displaying in a slide. For this fixed focus or variable focus, telescopes could be helpful.

Some telescopes, especially the large heavy devices have to be handheld and this can be tiring during prolonged use. These telescopes are best used for short periods of time. Compact telescopes can be attached to spectacle frames allowing longer periods of use and activities where both hands are required.

In my experience telescopes and especially variable focus telescopes can be difficult for some people to learn how to use. This tends to be older people who experience difficulty in understanding instructions on how to use the device and also who experience difficulty in handling the device, that is, being able to look through the eyepiece lens and being able to alter the focus. For some people, fixed focus telescopes are easy to use because of their simplicity but have the disadvantage of having a very limited range of focus.

Telescopes can be difficult to use but nevertheless, it is worthwhile having some examples of telescopes to work with in low vision practice and some to supply to those people who will benefit from them.

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