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Vision Assistive Technologies & Services

Assistive technologies (AT) include items or equipment that can be used to compensate for a deficit in functioning caused by a disability or impairment. AT is generally designed to help improve the functional capability of a person with disabilities and can be used by persons with vision loss and impairments to improve their awareness of their surroundings, functioning or independence.

Advances in general technologies including computer software and hardware, mobile devices, GPS and cell phones has resulted in a wide range of AT available for use by individuals with vision impairments. These include devices that can help a person identify their surroundings as well as to conduct tasks that are hindered by the vision loss or visual dysfunction. Specific forms of AT used by individuals with vision loss and visual dysfunctions include:

  • Screen readers and other stand-alone reading machines used to detect and read aloud text from a computer or document
  • Voice-to-text software that converts a person’s speech into text on a computer or device
  • Keyboards with enlarged characters or braille on each key
  • Mobile applications for a smart phone or tablet (GPS/navigation, book readers, dictation, money readers, home-assistive devices such as thermostats, etc.)
  • Wearable technology such as Apple iWatch, Google glass, and other spectacle-mounted technology
  • Implanted devices such as the FDA-approved Argus II retinal prosthesis system
  • E-readers with large-sized fonts

Depending on the type of vision issue, incorporating the use of AT into the routine of person with vision loss or visual dysfunction can help improve functioning and independence. To learn what kinds of AT might be of benefit, an assessment can be completed by an occupational therapist, eye care provider or specialist in AT, low vision and/or vision therapy.