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DaVinci Pro HD/OCR: A Better Reading Experience For The Visually Impaired

November 2015 — Imagine how enjoyable reading can be with this new desktop video magnifier (CCTV) by Enhanced Vision that has both a high-performance camera for magnification and full-page text-to-speech (OCR) software.


It's actually two devices in one.

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The Sony Full HD 1080p auto-focus camera rotates for reading, distance viewing and self-viewing, and it magnifies up to 77x.

The 24-inch high-resolution HD LCD display pivots for best image quality and offers 28 viewing modes for optimal contrast and brightness. With the computer-compatible display you can toggle between a computer and the CCTV. And you can connect the display to an iPad or other tablet.

Push a button, and you switch from a live image to OCR. The OCR function includes a reading preview for either reading an entire page or navigating through paragraphs to read selected text. You can choose between male and female premium voices in many different languages. And you can save documents, books or pictures and export them to a computer. (Please click here for a close-up image.)

The DaVinci Pro HD/OCR is easy to set up — you just plug it in and begin. Phone and online support are available, and Enhanced Vision offers a two-year warranty for your peace of mind.


The Amigo HD: Portability And Versatility In One Package

March 2015 — Reading labels, menus, price tags and street signs can be really difficult for people with low vision, but the Amigo HD can help.

Amigo HD by Enhanced Vision

This hand-held electronic magnifier is about the size of a tablet and weighs just 1.3 pounds, with a 7-inch high-definition screen. It includes both auto-focus and one-push manual focus.

It has large, color buttons to help you choose magnification levels from 1.4x to 25x and the right color contrast for your needs. There are 28 available color modes, too. You can use the image-capture for easier viewing, and you can even upload images to a PC.

While it's extremely portable, the Amigo HD can also be used hands-free on a desktop, so you can read, write, pay bills and work on hobbies. It's available from Enhanced Vision or through your eye care provider.


Can Human Echolocation Replace Vision?

January 2015 — Some blind people use echolocation, a technique commonly associated with bats, to help compensate for lack of vision. They make sounds, often by snapping their fingers or clicking their tongue, and interpret the sound waves that bounce off objects to perceive their surroundings. However, not a lot is known about how echolocation compares with actual sight.

Ear with visible sound waves

Scientists from the Brain and Mind Institute set out to compare echolocation's influence on blind people's perception with sighted individuals' perception. "Ironically, the proof for the vision-like qualities of echolocation came from blind echolocators wrongly judging how heavy objects of different sizes felt," explains Melvyn Goodale, Director of the Brain and Mind Institute.

The researchers found that blind people using echolocation were susceptible to visual illusions, just like sighted people. Their experiment included three groups of people: sighted people, blind echolocators and blind people not using echolocation. Each group lifted cubes of different sizes by strings and were asked which cube seemed heavier.

The blind group not using echolocation correctly judged that all the cubes weighed the same. But the sighted and echolocation groups both fell victim to the same illusion and overwhelmingly perceived the smaller cubes to be heavier. This optical illusion is known as the "Charpentier illusion."

The researchers concluded that "echolocation is not just a functional tool to help visually impaired individuals navigate their environment, but actually has the potential to be a complete sensory replacement for vision."

The complete study was published in the December issue of Psychological Science.


Poor Visual Acuity Isn't The Only Reason That Seniors With Low Vision Have Difficulty Functioning

June 2014 — A study of 779 seniors seeking low vision rehabilitation (LVR) services at U.S. clinics found several health problems that increase the functional limitations caused by visual impairments.

Senior lady who looks depressed
Depression can affect overall visual ability as well as specific visual tasks in seniors with low vision.

Participants filled out a questionnaire that measured their abilities in overall vision, reading, mobility, eye-hand coordination and information processing. They were also questioned about their physical, cognitive and psychological health. Here are the results:

  • Visual acuity was the strongest predictor of overall visual ability and reading ability, and it also had a significant effect on the other functional abilities.
  • Physical health was independently associated with overall visual ability, mobility and eye-hand coordination.
  • Decreased cognition had an effect only on reading and mobility.
  • Depression had a consistent negative effect on overall visual ability and on all the vision-related functional tasks.

The researchers concluded that physical, cognitive and psychological health have a significant effect on measures of visual ability, and that these factors should be taken into consideration both when measuring visual skills before initiating low vision rehabilitation services and when predicting LVR outcomes.

A full report of the study was published online this month by JAMA Ophthalmology.


Fewer Than 10 Percent Of American Women Know They're At Greater Risk Of Vision Loss Than Men, Survey Says

April 2014 — Only 9 percent of American women are aware that women have a greater risk than men of suffering permanent vision loss, according to a new national survey sponsored by Prevent Blindness. The online survey was conducted in January and collected information from more than 2,000 female respondents aged 18 and older.

Middle-aged woman.

Prevent Blindness, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight, is releasing the findings as part of Women's Eye Health and Safety Month (April) to spotlight the need for greater public awareness of vision problems affecting women.

Mildred M.G. Olivier, MD, a leading expert on the eye health of women and children and spokesperson for Prevent Blindness, said the survey results indicate "an alarming lack of knowledge regarding women's vision."

According to the 2012 "Vision Problems in the U.S." study funded by the National Eye Institute and the American Health Assistance Foundation, 61 percent of Americans with cataracts and 65 percent of those with age-related macular degeneration are women. Also, women account for 66 percent of Americans who are legally blind.

One reason for the higher incidence of these age-related eye conditions among women is that they tend to live longer than men.

To address these issues, Prevent Blindness has created a new program called "See Jane See: Women's Healthy Eyes Now" that provides free information about women's vision issues, including vision changes that can occur during pregnancy. To learn more, please visit the website SeeJaneSee.org.

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Page updated May 14, 2018