Non-Optical Low Vision Aids: To Help Blind or Visually Impaired

Visual Impairment refers to the decreased ability of a person’s sight to such a large degree that it cannot be fixed by conventional means such as glasses and lenses. The term blind people or blindness refers to a complete or nearly complete vision loss. The disturbance in the path of light inside the eye, also known as the refractive error, is the primary cause of vision loss worldwide.

Technology and human ingenuity have shined through the darkness of visual impairment and have come up with some very clever low vision aids such as magnifying glasses and a whole new system of writing known as Braille. Low vision aids are classified into two types; Optical Aids and Non-Optical Aids. Knowledge is the key to living with low vision or blindness. People with low vision can enhance their quality of life by learning which optical and non-optical aids can help them and integrating strategies for dealing with visual impairment in daily life. Let us now know more about non-optical low vision aids along with non-optical device examples.

Visual Impairment

 The White Cane. This device has become an international symbol for Blindness

 Low Vision Aids – Non-Optical Aids

According to the non-optical device definition, they are devices mainly designed to help blind or visually impaired carry out everyday tasks like reading and writing efficiently. The variety and the quality of non-optical aids have just shot through the roof due to the advent of technology and the internet. For example, manufacturers introduce bright and bumpy marks on the equipment to help their visually impaired customers. To help read time, there are talking clocks and watches as well as clocks, timers, and watches with large, easy-to-read faces. There are non-optical aids help you do things near impossible for visually impaired people, such as threading the needle or keeping a pair of socks together and many more such tools. For the exercise-conscious, even pedometers have learned to talk!.

Low Vision Non-Optical Aids Examples

Sometimes something as simple as improved illumination can help a visually impaired person greatly. The simplest of non-optical low vision aids are a thin coloured sheet of transparent plastic. When kept over the page to be read, colours such as yellow or red increase the contrast, thereby making the alphabets on the page more visible. Some non-optical device examples include the Writing Guard. A writing guard is a non-optical low vision device that helps visually impaired people write better. Writing guides are black cards with rectangular cut-outs in a horizontal direction. This black card with rectangular holes can be placed over a page to write better. Some telephone dials, watches, and books are made prominent, much larger than what we are used to seeing—dials of the telephone when made bigger help the person see well.
Some countries have also started using Guide Dogs which are well-trained dogs that guide a visually impaired person through cities and live with the person at all times. Such guide dogs are very well trained to adapt to a human style of life. Such dogs understand when to crossroads and how to protect their blind or visually impaired owner’s from the outside world and make sure they are safe.
The internet and computer are not to be left behind either. Microsoft Windows includes a built-in screen magnification program that magnifies a selected portion of the screen to help people with visual impairment. Screen reader programs are designed to allow even totally blind people to use the computer. They convert the text and icons to speech so one can use a computer without needing to see the monitor. This text-to-speech technology has been in constant use ever since we now have audiobooks for every best-seller so that the visually impaired people don’t have to depend on their sight to read literature.

Watch the video below to learn how and why spectacles/contact lenses are used to correct defects of vision and how exactly they affect the human eye.


Hope you have learned about low vision non-optical aids along with non-optical aids examples. Stay tuned with BYJU’S to know more about various science and math concepts.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Which device is an international symbol for blindness?

White cane, is the device that has become an international symbol for Blindness.

What are non-optical devices?

The devices mainly designed to help blind or visually impaired to carry out everyday tasks like reading and writing efficiently are known as non-optical devices.

Is a pen or pencil considered a non-optical device?

No.

What is cataract?

It is a type of visual impairment, where the formation of white milky layer over the eyes takes place blocking the light from entering from the eyes.

Give some examples of non-optical low vision aids?

Some examples of non-optical low vision aids are:
  • Writing Guard
  • Guide Dogs
  • Specially designed telephone dials, watches, and books.

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