Low Vision Products – Enablement and Independence Through Technology

2019-07-16 | By Orcam Staff

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Low Vision Products - Enablement and Independence Through Technology - OrCam

As the number of visually impaired people rises within the general population, low vision products will inevitably become more common as more people require them. In 2016,  7.6 million people in the United States had a visual disability. The majority of them require daily living aids to fulfill regular tasks at home or at work. 

Symptoms and Limitations

A pair of glasses with OrCam MyEye mounted on the side, sitting on top of a book

Generally speaking, low vision refers to visual impairment, specifically the kind that medical treatment, surgery or medicine cannot fully correct. Then again, there are numerous levels of low vision. Low vision symptoms may include blurriness, narrow vision, contrast or glare sensitivity. The level of these effects is different for every person. Mild effects may only slightly limit daily living and independence. Visual limitations can be in the form of difficulty in reading or in the identification of people and objects. Low tech devices will usually enable people to identify texts, objects, and people. The level of visual impairment will determine the requirements of the product which will enable the user to live independently.

Living with Low Vision

People who require daily use of low vision products are divided into two different types. The first type, are people who were born with low vision. Every task they ever performed has been done with low vision. People born with low vision have usually already developed some form of reliability on their other senses. This means that they don’t need to relearn how to perform tasks after the loss of vision.


On the other hand, there are those whose low vision has been developing throughout their life. In most cases, this will be due to old age. However, accidents and rare diseases may be the reason as well. In these cases, people need to learn new motor skills and adapt to their new condition. In addition, they need to learn to develop a higher level of reliability on their other senses. People in this situation, however, have an advantage. People who already know what things look like and how to perform tasks themselves may find it easier to relearn them. In both cases, assistance from devices and aids can come in very handy.

Improving the Quality of Life

There are many people living with low vision.  Each and every one of them has their own lifestyle. Similarly, lifestyle’s vary and so do the features people require from their low vision products. These requirements differ based on the activities they perform on a daily basis. People who actively read books, documents and newspapers would require magnifiers or text readers. Equally, this will also be relevant for people who eat out and read menus. Getting around a city independently can be possible through devices that read street signs. Furthermore, people who shop independently would need a solution that can enable relevant text or barcode reading.


This is possible through devices that identify product labels. However, reading product labels is different than regular text reading. Product information presents words and text differently on a package than books or newspapers do on a page. Books and newspapers tell a story across the page. In contrast, product information provides numeric value to the relevant ingredients, often in a table of contents. At the same time, shopping independently requires the ability to differentiate between money notes while paying at the checkout counter. Without these features, shopping independently is nearly impossible for the visually impaired.

Types of Low Vision Products

A talking thermostat being used in the wall.

When it comes to low-vision products, there are multiple kinds with various functionalities. Some devices are completely non-electric. These will include items such as reading magnifiers, measuring cups, can openers, utensils, and more. Some will require batteries but are still considered low-tech. These can be timers, watches, and alarm clocks. On the other hand, there are electric “smart” products like talking thermostats, low-vision glasses, text readers, and more. These may require charging batteries, an internet connection, and even software updates. Here are a few examples of non-electric, simple electric, and advanced technology products.

Low Vision Products on the Market

OrCam MyEye 2

A pair of glasses next to an OrCam MyEye 2 device

Before this product was introduced, there was no all in one device that allowed for such enablement for the blind and visually impaired. Reading any printed or digital text, identifying products for independent shopping, recognizing faces of friends and family, and more are among the many features available to its users. OrCam MyEye 2 has changed tens of thousands of lives all over the world. OrCam has been featured on many high profile shows and channels, such as STEVE, Dr. Phil,  BBC and much more…


RNIB Enterprises Limited Cooking Gloves

You might wonder what this specific pair of cooking gloves offer that regular ones do not. When blind or visually impaired people cook, the risk for burns on their arms is higher. These gloves offer more protection. This pair of gloves is heat resistant to dry contact heat up to 350 degrees Celsius. These gloves are designed for flexibility and comfort. They are soft, non-allergenic and suitable for right and left-handed use.


Medpage Ltd Talking Thermometer

The TT-01 Talking thermometer can also be used to warn the elderly if their house is too cold (or too warm in the summer) and is particularly useful for people with visual impairment. The TT-01 can be used to warn of temperature variants through the night so that heating or ventilation can be adjusted. Voice announces both indoor and outdoor temperature.

An alarm clock with large display of the time

American Lifetime Talking Alarm Clock

Clearly spells out the current time and part of the day, day of the week, date and month—with no confusing abbreviations. The large illuminated display can be seen from all angles and from up to 20 feet away by users with vision impairments. With 5 multi-function alarms, this is the only clock of its kind to support users through wake-ups, medication reminders, and appointments.