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What is Macular
Degeneration? Macular Degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration is a disease associated with aging which gradually destroys sharp, central vision. Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving.
Degeneration (MD) is damage or breakdown of the macula. The
macula is the part of the retina which allows us to see clearly
and appreciate color. It is the small spot (approximately 3mm)
near the middle of the retina, which is responsible for the
central part of what we see. The retina is at the back of the
eye. It is made up of cells which are sensitive to light.
does it affect sight?
the early stages of MD, central vision is blurred and seeing at
a distance or close work is difficult. The eye may still have
good side vision, but blank spots appear in the center. This
makes reading, sewing or seeing faces difficult.
symptoms include: dimming of color vision, difficulty in judging
heights and distances, and some difficulty with tasks such as
pouring tea. Sometimes only one eye loses vision, while the
other eye may see well for years.
does not lead to total blindness. People with MD mostly retain
good side vision. This means they can cope well with most daily
tasks. The latest magnification devices can be very useful.
from some rarer forms, MD is not hereditary. The condition
occurs most commonly in older people.
ophthalmologist can detect MD in its early stages. Special
magnifying glasses, daily living aids such as needle thread,
large print books, proper lighting or a combination of these can
help the person with MD to be independent and lead a normal
life. Laser treatment can be useful if the condition is detected
is a Video Magnifier?
A video magnifier is a simple way of producing large text, images and maps for people with some useful vision. Printed material and objects can be placed under a camera and the magnified image is displayed on a television screen or computer monitor.
They are mostly used for reading, but can also be used for writing and other activities and to view objects at a distance such as a board in a school classroom. There are a large number of different types of models to choose from and they vary widely in the features offered.
Video Magnifiers are not a replacement for hand magnifiers, but they do have real advantages for some tasks. These include the ability to vary magnification levels, to get very high levels of magnification, to get a comfortable reading distance, and to vary reading distance. Many people find they can read more comfortably and therefore for longer periods with a video magnifier than with a hand magnifier.
While there is no absolute way of knowing whether a video magnifier will help a particular individual without them trying one for themselves, as a general guide if someone can't read the largest banner headlines in a newspaper then a video magnifier is likely to be of use to them.
The video magnifier image can be black and white or full color. Many black and white systems offer the option of switching the foreground and background colors between dark text on a light background and light text on a dark background (reversing
polarity). In addition they may offer a choice of foreground and background colors.
As well as the default choice of color image view, most color image video magnifiers offer a choice of foreground and background colors, and mono view.
Desktop video magnifiers
The most common type of video magnifier is intended for use
on a desk or work surface, so is called a desktop video magnifier. Most desktop video magnifiers have a camera, which is in a fixed position some distance above the desktop.
The printed material is placed on the reading table, which can be moved left to right and backwards and forwards. The image is viewed on an integrated monitor and can be adjusted for contrast, magnification and color to suit the user.
A few desktop video magnifiers have a camera on an
angle poise type stem instead, so there is some flexibility of position.
Desktop magnifiers can offer a magnification range as low as 1.5 times and as high as 72 times, although the range is usually narrower.
is low vision?
is low vision?
What is low vision?
Low vision is a term used to describe a degree of
severity of visual loss. Patients with low vision
may receive treatment within a subspecialty of
optometry and ophthalmology called "low
vision". Individuals with low vision have
reduced vision even when using the best possible
spectacle or contact lens correction is applied. Low
vision may be a result of either congenital disease
such as retinitis pigmentosa or Leber's congenital
amaurosis or of an acquired conditions such as optic
There are several signals of low vision:
• Difficulty recognizing a familiar face
• Difficulty reading - print appears broken,
distorted or incomplete
• Difficulty seeing objects and potential
hazards such as steps, curbs, walls, uneven surfaces
Causes of Low Vision
Macular Degeneration: The macula is the
central part of the retina and is responsible for
reading and other tasks that require the detection
of fine detail. Macular Degeneration occurs when the
macula becomes either thin (dry macular
degeneration) or elevated and uneven due to leaking
blood vessels under the retina (wet macular
degeneration). People with macular degeneration have
mostly peripheral vision and blurry or no central
Diabetes Retinopathy: Diabetes can damage the
capillaries of the retina, causing the retina to
leak fluid onto the macula, and making the retina
swell and blur vision. Without treatment, new blood
vessels will grow along the retina and bleed,
potentially destroying the retina. People with
diabetic retinopathy have blurred and spotty vision.
Cataract: A cataract is a clouding of the
eye's lens. Because the lens focuses the eye, a
person's vision blurs when the lens becomes cloudy,
just as if one was trying to look at something
through a waterfall. Glare can also be a significant
problem for people with cataracts.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the
normal pressure in the eye rises. This pressure can
cause damage to the optic nerve and other parts of
the eye. People with the most common type, open
angle glaucoma, lose their peripheral vision, and as
the disease worsens, the field of vision narrows.