Smart Glasses for the Blind Open New Doors and Opportunities

2023-05-11 | By Orcam Staff

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Smart Glasses for the Blind Open New Doors and Opportunities

Imagine living in a world where your sight doesn't define your boundaries. Glasses designed for the blind are transforming this vision into reality, offering more than just assistance—they are opening doors to a world filled with possibilities. As technology advances, glasses for the blind have become a crucial tool in enhancing independence and connectivity, integrating cutting-edge features like object recognition and navigational aids. These smart glasses provide audio descriptions of the visual world, turning everyday challenges into opportunities for greater freedom and self-reliance.

Glasses designed for the blind are more than just a vision aid; they are a gateway to enhanced independence and connectivity. As technology evolves, so do the possibilities for those with visual impairments. Glasses for the blind have transformed significantly, integrating advanced features such as object recognition and navigation assistance, which go beyond traditional visual aids. This article explores the innovative world of glasses for the blind, delving into how these smart devices provide audio descriptions of the visual world, helping users navigate spaces and recognize faces with ease. With glasses for the blind, every challenge in daily navigation turns into an opportunity for greater freedom and self-reliance.

Let's delve into how these innovative devices are reshaping the lives of visually impaired individuals.

Ever since the internet erupted into a global phenomenon in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, technology has entered a golden age of accelerated achievements beyond measure. This revolutionary period of time has brought forth a new generation of smart glasses for blind and visually impaired people that enables them to live independently for the first time in history.

A New Digital Era

A new digital era

In every aspect of human life, technology has become the core of operational capabilities and performance. Energy and water infrastructure facilities have transformed into maintaining and providing resources through technology. Corporate enterprises, financial institutions, and governmental departments rely on technology-powered databases. Smart technology devices have changed the lives of people worldwide in almost every way. The very term smart glasses for blind and visually impaired was born from the term smartphone. 

In an age of amazing new inventions and innovative breakthroughs, it’s time for blind and visually impaired people got to experience the same thing. A new artificial intelligence device for blind and visually impaired that attaches to any pair of glasses is becoming the herald of a new age of independence for people with low vision.

Meet Howard Truman – an OrCam User

“The first thing I wanna try to do when I get home, is read the things that are inside my refrigerator", says Oscar Snell, an OrCam user, in this ABC Tech video. Turman, who is legally blind, started losing his vision when he was a child. OrCam’s smart devices which were specially tailored for blind people do not fix his sight but they do provide audible information of visual data. OrCam devices are built using OCR technology to read text from any printed or digital surface. Making reading available again for its users.

In addition, it can recognize faces, barcodes, personal items, colors, and even money bills. These features allow the tens of thousands of OrCam’s users worldwide to get back to work, shop independently, and even raise their children on their own as blind parents.

Why do blind people wear sunglasses?

Reasons for wearing sunglasses

Some blind people choose to wear sunglasses for various reasons. Here are a few common reasons:

  1. Protection from glare and brightness: Blind individuals often have heightened sensitivity to light, and wearing sunglasses can help reduce the discomfort caused by glare. Sunlight, artificial light, or even reflections can be overwhelming, and sunglasses provide a shield that allows blind people to manage their surroundings more comfortably.
  2. Eye protection: Sunglasses serve as a protective barrier for the eyes, shielding them from dust, wind, and debris. For blind individuals who may rely more on touch and tactile cues, sunglasses provide an added layer of defense to prevent potential eye injuries.
  3. Privacy and social comfort: Wearing sunglasses can offer a sense of privacy and anonymity for blind people. In social situations, sunglasses help prevent others from making assumptions about their visual impairment, allowing them to navigate social interactions on their own terms.

Benefits of sunglasses for blind individuals

  1. Glare reduction: Sunglasses with tinted lenses can significantly reduce glare, making it easier for blind individuals to perceive their surroundings and navigate comfortably. By minimizing glare, sunglasses enhance their visual comfort and may even improve their ability to detect objects or obstacles.
  2. Increased contrast perception: Certain types of sunglasses, especially those with specialized lenses, can enhance contrast perception. This feature can be particularly beneficial for blind individuals who have residual vision or those who rely on light and shadow cues to interpret their environment.
  3. Eye health: Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can be harmful to the eyes, regardless of visual impairment. Sunglasses with UV protection help shield the eyes from harmful rays, reducing the risk of conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Social and psychological aspects of wearing sunglasses for blind people

  1. Confidence and self-expression: Wearing sunglasses allows blind individuals to present themselves with confidence and express their personal style. By choosing sunglasses that suit their preferences, they can enhance their self-image and feel more comfortable in public settings.
  2. Reduced stigma and misconceptions: Sunglasses can help alleviate some of the stigma associated with visual impairment. By concealing their eyes, blind individuals may avoid unwanted attention or intrusive questions about their condition, allowing them to focus on their daily activities without unnecessary distractions.
  3. Facilitating social interactions: Wearing sunglasses can act as a social cue, signaling to others that an individual has a visual impairment. This can lead to increased understanding and consideration from those around them, making social interactions smoother and more inclusive.

Remember, while these reasons and benefits apply to some blind individuals, preferences may vary. It's important to respect individual choices and consult with eye care professionals to determine the most suitable eyewear for each person's specific needs.

Glasses for blind people

Introduction to specialized glasses for blind individuals

Specialized glasses designed for blind individuals offer a range of features and functionalities that can greatly enhance their independence and improve their quality of life.

Features and functionalities of glasses for blind people

These glasses incorporate advanced technologies and innovative design elements, providing a variety of features to assist blind individuals:

  1. Built-in cameras: The glasses are equipped with small cameras strategically placed on the frame. These cameras capture real-time images of the wearer's surroundings, enabling blind individuals to perceive their environment through audio or tactile feedback.
  2. Object recognition: Advanced algorithms and computer vision technology enable the glasses to recognize and identify objects, people, and text. By conveying this information audibly or through other sensory cues, the glasses provide valuable context to the wearer.
  3. Navigation assistance: Some glasses for blind people integrate GPS and navigation systems. These systems offer audio cues, turn-by-turn directions, and real-time location updates, empowering blind individuals to navigate unfamiliar places independently.

Enhancing independence and improving quality of life

The inclusion of these features in glasses for blind people can have a profound impact on their daily lives:

  1. Improved spatial awareness: Glasses for blind people enhance spatial awareness by providing audio or tactile feedback about the surrounding environment. They enable individuals to navigate indoor and outdoor spaces, avoid obstacles, and make informed decisions.
  2. Increased independence: These glasses reduce blind individuals' reliance on external assistance, empowering them to perform daily activities without constant support. Tasks such as shopping, reading signs, or identifying objects become more manageable.
  3. Enhanced social interactions: Glasses designed for blind people facilitate social interactions by offering features like facial recognition. They allow individuals to identify people they know and engage in more meaningful conversations. The glasses can also provide helpful contextual information, enabling smoother communication with others.

OrCam MyEye - Empowering blind individuals with advanced assistive technology

One notable brand and model of glasses designed for blind individuals is the OrCam MyEye. This innovative device has gained recognition for its cutting-edge technology, user-friendly interface, and positive user feedback.


The OrCam MyEye is a wearable device that uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to assist blind individuals in their daily activities. It consists of a lightweight camera unit that can be attached to the frame of regular glasses or sunglasses. Here are some key features of the OrCam MyEye:

  1. Object recognition and identification: The device can recognize and identify a wide range of objects, products, and text, providing real-time audio feedback to the wearer. This enables blind individuals to independently read signs, labels, menus, and even books.
  2. Facial recognition: The OrCam MyEye can learn and remember faces, allowing blind individuals to identify people they know. It can provide aural cues, helping them navigate social situations and engage in more personalized interactions.
  3. Text-to-speech functionality: By pointing at printed text, the device instantly converts it into audio, enabling blind individuals to access written information in a variety of contexts. It can read newspapers, documents, emails, and other printed materials, enhancing their independence and access to information.

The OrCam MyEye has been praised for its ease of use and discreet design. It offers customizable settings and can be adapted to individual preferences and needs. The device is often recommended in consultation with eye care professionals or assistive technology specialists to ensure the best fit for the user.

Glasses for the visually impaired

Types of glasses for individuals with varying degrees of visual impairment

There are different types of glasses available to assist individuals with varying degrees of visual impairment. These glasses are designed to address specific visual needs and can significantly enhance visual acuity and comfort.

Correcting refractive errors and enhancing visual acuity

Glasses play a crucial role in correcting refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. By prescribing lenses with the appropriate power and curvature, optometrists and ophthalmologists can help individuals with visual impairment achieve clearer and sharper vision.


In addition to refractive correction, glasses can also incorporate specialized lenses or technologies to enhance visual acuity. These may include:

  1. High-index lenses: These lenses are designed to be thinner and lighter, providing greater comfort for individuals with stronger prescriptions.
  2. Progressive lenses: Also known as multifocal lenses, these glasses provide clear vision at different distances, allowing individuals with presbyopia to see both up-close and far away without the need for multiple pairs of glasses.
  3. Anti-reflective coatings: These coatings minimize glare and reflections on the lens surface, improving visual clarity and reducing eye strain, particularly in challenging lighting conditions.

Specialized lenses and technologies for maximizing remaining vision

For visually impaired individuals, glasses can incorporate specialized lenses or technologies that aim to optimize their remaining vision. Some examples include:

  1. Tinted lenses: Tinted glasses can help individuals with certain visual conditions, such as light sensitivity or color deficiency, by reducing glare and enhancing contrast.
  2. Prism lenses: Prism glasses are used to correct specific eye alignment issues or improve binocular vision. They can help individuals with conditions like strabismus or amblyopia.
  3. Electronic magnification: Some glasses feature built-in electronic magnification systems, which allow users to adjust the level of magnification according to their needs. This technology can assist individuals with low vision in reading and performing daily tasks.

Glasses for the legally blind

Understanding the term "legally blind"

The term "legally blind" refers to a level of visual impairment that is severe enough to significantly impact an individual's ability to perform daily activities, even with the use of glasses or contact lenses. The criteria for being considered legally blind may vary by country or jurisdiction but typically involve having a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye, or a visual field of less than 20 degrees.

Assisting legally blind individuals with glasses

Legally blind individuals face unique challenges due to their significant visual impairment. However, glasses can still play a valuable role in assisting them. While glasses alone may not fully restore vision, they can provide benefits such as:

  1. Magnification: Glasses can incorporate magnifying lenses or electronic magnification systems that help individuals with low vision read small print, view objects more clearly, and perform tasks that require detailed visual acuity.
  2. Contrast enhancement: Certain glasses can enhance contrast and improve visibility for legally blind individuals, making it easier to distinguish objects and navigate their environment.
  3. Integration of low vision aids: Glasses can be designed to accommodate and integrate various low vision aids and devices. These may include telescopic lenses, prismatic lenses, or miniature electronic devices that provide additional visual support.

Low vision aids and devices incorporated into glasses

To aid the visually impaired, glasses can be combined with low vision aids and devices that offer supplementary support. Some examples include:

  1. Microscopes and telescopes: These attachments can be incorporated into glasses to provide magnification for tasks requiring fine details or long-distance viewing.
  2. Electronic visual aids: Glasses can integrate electronic devices that utilize advanced technologies, such as image enhancement, contrast enhancement, or augmented reality, to assist individuals with low vision.

By combining glasses with these low vision aids and devices, legally blind individuals can gain improved functionality and independence, allowing them to navigate their surroundings with greater confidence.


Note: It is important for visually impaired individuals to consult with eye care professionals or low vision specialists to determine the most appropriate glasses and low vision aids based on their specific visual needs and preferences.

The People Behind Smart Glasses for Blind and Visually Impaired

OrCam Technologies Co Founders, Amnon shashua and Ziv aviram

Amnon Shashua, CEO, and Co-Founder of OrCam Technologies explains that reading text, recognizing faces and products is just the beginning for OrCam. “Where we want to get is complete visual understanding at the level of human perception such that if you are disoriented you can start to understand what is around you.”

Since this video aired, there has been a lot of excitement and curiosity about the device. OrCam has received many requests from people all over the world wanting the device in their language. Currently, the device is available in English, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, French, Hebrew, Danish, Polish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Swedish, Czech, Mandarin, and Japanese. 

The OrCam team is working very hard to add more languages and there are plans for new additions in the near future. Since the first device was launched, new features have been added and more are currently in development.

Unlike other devices, the OrCam is portable and discreet. Its small compact size allows the user to feel like he does not stand out in the crowd. Turman says that the OrCam device gives him a sense of normalcy and he is very excited about them. “Picture a kid the first time he got his favorite toy, just the best thing that has happened to me in a long time” says Turman.


In conclusion, we have explored the significance of glasses for blind and visually impaired individuals. We discussed specialized glasses designed for blind people, highlighting their features and functionalities such as built-in cameras, object recognition, and navigation assistance. These glasses offer a path to greater independence and improved quality of life for blind individuals.


We also delved into the various types of glasses available for individuals with visual impairment, including those for correcting refractive errors and maximizing remaining vision. Glasses can address specific visual needs, enhance visual acuity, and incorporate specialized lenses or technologies to optimize the remaining vision of visually impaired individuals.


Additionally, we explored the role of glasses for legally blind individuals, understanding the criteria for legal blindness and the challenges they face. We discussed how glasses, along with low vision aids and devices, can assist them in performing daily activities and improving their quality of life.

It is crucial to recognize the importance of glasses and sunglasses for blind and visually impaired individuals. These devices offer practical solutions, empowering individuals to overcome challenges and navigate the world with greater confidence.


As readers, it is essential to explore the different options available to you. Consultation with eye care professionals, optometrists, or assistive technology specialists can help determine the most suitable glasses and low vision aids for your specific needs. They can provide valuable guidance and ensure that you receive the appropriate assistance in optimizing your visual capabilities.


Remember, glasses are not merely a vision correction tool but a gateway to independence, enhanced spatial awareness, and improved quality of life for blind and visually impaired individuals. Embrace the possibilities they offer and embark on a journey towards a more inclusive and accessible world.