Debanjali Bhattacharjee, Ph.D. Scholar

Assistant Professor, Department of Optometry, Sushant University, Gurgaon, India



Low Vision defines impaired vision which can’t be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or any surgery, and one’s quality of life is significantly impaired. A few common causes of low vision are Retinitis Pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetes. With all obstacles, low-vision patients are facing many challenges in their daily routine. (1) Everyone wants to live their life independently and to match their demand low vision devices have become available.

Assistive Technology:

Assistive Technology is achieving much attention in present days as they are much helpful for patients, the technology can be “high tech “or “low tech” with the support of advanced techniques, such as voice recognition software and augmentative communication devices (speech generating devices) becoming heed for every day. Assistive technology devices are designed specially to help people with vision loss, including everything from screen readers, screen magnifiers for those who are computer users but falling in low vision criteria, video magnifiers and other devices for reading and writing also help the patients. (2)

Assistive Technologies for reading as well as writing:

 Persons with visual impairment meet a lot of difficulties while reading and writing. There are several assistive technologies available to support their tasks such as

  • Large Print books: low vision patient has difficulty reading small letters so a large print size (N20) with a font size of 18-20 helps in reading
  • Low Vision Lamps: To enhance the lighting environment could help low vision patients while reading, there are various luminosity levels available to help the igniting condition. (3) For example, Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL), incandescent light, and light emitting diode are useful in low vision cases
  • Refreshable Braille Display (RBD): Refreshable Braille Display is an electro-mechanical device to display the character where round-tipped pins are raised through the holes in a flat surface. (3) Visually impaired patients can use RBD as they are not able to work on normal computers

Figure 1: Refreshable braille display
(Picture Courtesy: )

  • Braille slate and stylus: It’s a low -tech portable writing tool where the slate is divided into two panels to settle the paper and stylus is used for through the holes to one panel, this technique can be compared with the pencil and paper concept, also it’s a very budget- a friendly device to help the people who are visually impaired. (4) 
  • Jot a Dot: It’s a reasonable and low-tech writing tool which helps students to write short notes. Jot a Dot is a tiny and portable device.

Assistive devices for Orientation with Mobility

How much orientation is important for daily lifestyle in the same platform mobility is equally important for independent living style. Examples of Orientation and Mobility are 

    • Long cane, Guide cane
    • Support cane. Green cane

Activities of Daily Living Task-Assistive Technologies:

Every visually impaired person wants to live their life independently whereas technology can extend the comfort in living performance such as –

Liquid level sensor: It is designed with alert announcements to remind the patient about the level of liquid in cup or glass

Talking colour detector: This device differentiates in different colours by voice notes when low vision patient touches the surface

Some other facilities also can be used for visually impaired people like Pill organiser, talking watch, talking money detector, talkative washing machine, etc. (5)


As an optometrist, it’s very important to be aware of the various types of assistive technology along with their uses for low-vision people. Similarly, to take a session for orientation and mobility based on the patient’s demand is as valuable as knowing all devices. Guide a visually impaired patient in all possible ways is one of the major concerns for every low vision expert. It is also necessary to look for low-cost devices with limited sources in India.

Keywords: Low vision, Assistive Technology, Orientation with Mobility



  1. Senjam S. Assistive Technology for People with Visual Loss. Delhi Journal of Ophthalmology. 2019;30(2).
  2. Trachtman L, Jones M, Sauer M, Yoder D. The Ability Program: Improving Statewide Access to Assistive Technology for Adults with Disabilities. Assistive Technology. 1998;10(2):134-147.
  3. Hersh MA, Johnson MA. Disability and assistive technology systems. InAssistive technology for visually impaired and blind people 2008 (pp. 1-50). Springer, London.
  4. Hutinger P, Johanson J, Stoneburner R. Assistive Technology Applications in Educational Programs of Children with Multiple Disabilities: A Case Study Report on the State of the Practice. Journal of Special Education Technology. 1996;13(1):16-3
  5. Cook AM, Polgar JM. Cook and Hussey’s Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice (3rd Edition), St. Louis, MO:Mosby Elsevier. 2008.