Products for the Visually Impaired/Blind

Updated March 23, 2017

Innovative and practical tools make some daily tasks easier for those who suffer from varying degrees of macular degeneration, or who are blind. Telling the time, reading, working on a computer and chores around the house are among the tasks that the visually impaired can accomplish with the aid of these specially-designed tools.

Low-Vision Watches

A wide range of specially-designed low vision watches offers the visually impaired many options to suit their specific needs. For example, there are talking wrist and pocket watches that speak the time in a clear voice at the press of a button. They have large white or yellow dials with distinct, black numbers so they are easier to view. Over-sized crowns make these watches simple to set. They are usually made of stainless steel with gold tone and chrome finishes or with stretchable black or brown leather straps. Some low vision watches have the added benefit of a swivel-out magnifier that can be useful for reading small print when necessary.

Low-Vision Magnifiers

There are magnifiers to assist a range of low vision functions, including reading and writing. Fixed desktop units come with a large screen mounted on a movable reading table. They provide up to 77 times magnification for reading letters, books, magazines and other items with small print. Viewing family photographs, reading recipes or knitting instructions, and many other pastimes and projects become possible again with such magnification. There is even optional computer connectivity. Other magnification units include a flexible device for up-close use as a mirror or for magnifying objects at a distance.

Talking Coffee Maker

There are some useful and unusual low-vision aids for the kitchen. A talking coffee maker makes it easy to brew coffee at whatever time you choose, simply by verbally instructing the coffee maker. It contains a computer chip and understands what to do when you tell it the appointed coffee hour. It confirms your instructions verbally and by displaying them on a screen. If you are not in the mood for conversation, the coffee maker will make the coffee anyway if you set the brew time manually.

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About the Author

Based in Northern California, Maureen Katemopoulos has been a freelance writer for more than 25 years. Her articles on travel, the arts, cuisine and history have appeared in publications such as "Stanislaus Magazine," "Orientations," "The Asia Magazine" and "The Peninsula Group Magazine." She holds a Baccalaureate degree in journalism from Stanford University.