February 16, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

Low Vision

Impacting millions of Americans, vision loss is as varied as the individuals who experience it – from simply needing to don a pair of reading glasses to browse through the morning newspaper, to total blindness. And it’s even more common in older adults, with one in every three elders over age 65 having some sort of eye disease that impacts vision, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and others. Thankfully, much like a lot of other challenging conditions, technology continues to explode with choices to improve total well-being for anyone experiencing vision problems. Just take a glance at a few of the vision enhancement tools that are now available:

  • Be My Eyes. This incredible app connects sighted volunteers with those with low vision or blindness, and actually allows them to see, through the individual’s phone, any number of immediate needs – like checking expiration dates of food or confirming that an outfit matches. And, “It’s being used for a few amazing things,” according to Alexander Jensen, Be My Eyes’ Community Director. “We received an email from a woman who said she used a Be My Eyes volunteer to check on her wedding dress for any stains before the ceremony started.”
  • Seeing AI. A more recently released application, Seeing AI also utilizes a sight-impaired person’s phone, providing identification of an individual to whom the camera is facing, including recognition of the individual’s facial expressions to pick up on feelings and mood. It also can scan barcodes to identify items (with an audible alert as soon as the camera is close to a barcode), verify denominations of currency, and many other functions, even without an Internet connection.
  • Robocane. This is no ordinary white cane! Built with a computer, microphone and 3-D camera, RoboCane can identify obstacles and give voice prompts to let a user know what’s ahead. It can also guide its user through usage of a motor-driven roller tip once floor plans of a desired route are loaded into its computer, as well as take spoken commands from its user and provide audio feedback through a wireless earphone.

At Home Independent Living can help improve quality of life for persons with a vision impairment through safe, reliable transportation and accompaniment to outings, help with household chores and personal care tasks, and a whole lot more. Call us any time at (315) 579-4663 for a free in-home consultation with our Camillus home care professionals to learn more!