The joy of reading should not be diminished just because your sight might not be as good as it used to be. Associated Optical believe that with the right lighting, magnification and practice these three things can make a real difference in helping you re-discover the joy of reading.
A low cost easy solution is to review the type of light you are using while reading.
Associated optical have great blogs on lighting.
Many people find they can read more comfortably with a video magnifier than with a traditional glass magnifier and therefore for longer periods. There is no absolute way of knowing whether a video magnifier will help you without trying one for yourself.
To understand more about video magnifiers read more on Associated Optical blog all about magnifiers
Main features of video magnifiers in general allow you to
Vary the level of Magnification so you can increase of decrease the text displayed on the screen anywhere from 1.75x 22x dependent on the model type your purchase.
Different models either have a fixed or variable level of magnification. Associated optical recommend a variable level of magnification to allow you to be as flexible as you need to increase the text displayed.
Inbuilt Video camera
Each magnifier uses a camera and that is either black and white or full colour. A black and white camera is also known as monochrome as it will display black, white and shades of grey.
Most portable video magnifiers use a close up camera which is suitable for magnifying objects placed close to the camera. For distant objects such as train timetables, notice boards or a classroom environment then you will need a video magnifier with a distance camera.
Eschenbach mobilux® DIGITAL Touch HD has a HD camera positioned centrally under the non-reflective, high contrast display, making orientation easy during reading and provides maximum definition.
Some models have enhanced colour options that can make reading text easier. By reducing the number of colours displayed down to two and removing shades, the contrast between text and background is increased. This makes the letters stand out more so it is easier to see. The most common enhanced colour combinations are black text on white and white text on black (also known as reverse mode). Some models have more colour combinations such as yellow on blue, blue on yellow, yellow text on black and a few even let you choose from a list of both text and background colours. Try experimenting with different colours to find the combination that works best for you.
This feature allows you to freeze the image on screen, similar to taking a photograph and is found on most models of portable video magnifiers. Simply hold the portable video magnifier at arm’s length, freeze the image then bring the magnifier closer to read, for example, to read price tags in a shop.
For more information on how to make the most of your sight read http://www.associatedoptical.com/blog/fantastical-magnifiers-and-where-to-find-them
Using a magnifier takes practice, some people may require support and training and in this instance it is important to see a low vision expert and you can be referred by your doctor.
Just remember practice makes perfect when using any type of magnifier. Don't expect to speed through your favourite book the first time you use a magnifier. For example, you will need to figure out the best distance to hold the magnifier from the printed page to achieve the best focus. Practice, patience, and getting the right support and advice from a low vision specialist will go a long way to improve your #joyofreading.
For further advice and support our team are on hand to speak to you or speak to your local GP about being referred for a low vision assessment.
Discover how eSight eyewear is changing and improving the lives of people with sight loss. Experience the electronic glasses first-hand for yourself at one of our many clinics to see the real difference they can make to how independently you live your life.
Hundreds of people with sight loss have lived these moments when they first use eSight eyewear. In countless cases the glasses have enabled people to live more independent lives and there are hundreds of testimonials from people who are already using eSight electronic glasses like Brian Casey who saw his wife for the first time in 27 years.
To enable as many people to experience their own moments of using eSight eyewear Associated Optical are running clinics to enable people to try eSight electronic glasses supported by professionals in an encouraging reassuring environment
Set in the business district, Millennium Madejski Hotel Reading occupies a wonderfully convenient location, right next to The Royal Berkshire Conference Centre and adjacent to the Madjeski Stadium.
This is a real opportunity to spend time with a low vision professional who will spend time with you to assess your suitability for eSight eyewear. Many people who have attended the clinics have been amazed at the immediate impact these glasses have on their ability to be more independent. There will be a chance to discover how eSight eyewear works and use them in a number of activities like; watching TV, reading, using a computer etc.
What can I do with eSight?
eSight has enabled many people with sight loss to regain independence across many aspects of daily living.
■ Seeing the faces of loved ones, in some cases for the first time
■ Going to school or university
■ Using a computer or smartphone
■ Watching TV
■ Travelling independently
■ Viewing sporting and cultural events
■ Arts and crafts
■ Cooking and baking
■ Walking and just being more mobile.
■ Playing sports
■ And so much more
eSight has restored many people’s independence, confidence and self-esteem
What happens at the clinic?
You will be given an hour appointment but more time if you need it, and you will have the chance to discuss your individual needs with an eSight advocate before and while using eSight eyewear.
How do you book onto a clinic?
To find out more about the clinic and how eSight eyewear can benefit you please call Associated Optical direct on 01628 600410
Interest free credit
To support people who are interested in purchasing eSight eyewear Associated Optical are offering an affordable package where you can choose to pay for the glasses through interest free credit over 12 months. This was an important factor for Stuart Baldwin Director at Associated Optical as he wanted to ensure there was an accessible way people could purchase eSight eyewear.
How does eSight work?
■ A high-speed, high resolution camera in the middle of the eSight electronic glasses captures what a user is looking at in real time.
■ eSight’s powerful computer instantly processes the high definition video and displays it on two OLED screens in front of the user’s eyes using cutting edge optics.
■ eSight’s proprietary algorithms enhance the video feed.
■ Full colour video images can be clearly seen by the eSight user with unprecedented visual clarity and no perceptible latency or delay.
■ With eSight’s patented Bioptic Tilt capability, users can adjust the eyewear to the precise position that, for them, presents the best view of the video while maximizing outer peripheral vision (which is often still functional for people with low vision). This, along with imperceptible short latency, ensures that a user’s balance is not disturbed and, hence, no nausea occurs– common problems with immersive technologies such as virtual reality headsets. Perhaps more importantly, it is the Bioptic Tilt that allows eSight users to be mobile while using the device.
■ eSight users can easily control colour, contrast, focus, brightness and magnification (24X) using a sleek controller and intuitive user interface.
Associated Optical look forward to welcoming you to their clinics and you can keep up-to-date on eSight news on their website www.esighteyewear.co.uk
eSight Engineers created a breakthrough technology, taking many years of hard work, investments of tens of millions of dollars, many patented innovations and much trial and error working with numerous legally blind individuals. The end result was eSight - electronic glasses that enable the legally blind to actually see. Today, Associated Optical are proud to say that eSight is the largest, most knowledgeable and well-funded R&D lab in the world dedicated to addressing blindness.
Now in the UK
When Associated Optical heard about the results in Canada and the impact this technology was having on people with sight loss they set out to work with Esight to enable the glasses to become available in the UK. Stuart Baldwin Director at Associated Optical has been working over the last 25 years to improve education and solutions for people who have low vision through the magnification products they develop and the courses they run educating professionals to improve the quality of life for people with sight loss.
Leaders in Low Vision Rehabilitation from the University Health Network were part of an extensive evaluation of eSight Eyewear. Most of the study subjects showed impressive gains in their functional vision for various practical tasks. The new eSight 3 device adds many new features and most importantly, exhibits excellent aesthetics, comfort, and wear ability.
“We saw first-hand at the Centre for Retina and Macular Disease how profound a difference eSight Eyewear can make in peoples’ lives. Unlike other wearable electronic devices for the visually impaired, every aspect of eSight Eyewear has been designed from the ground up with an in-depth knowledge of the needs of visually impaired users”
Dr. Sam Markowitz, Director of the Low Vision Program at the University of Toronto
“I was blind for virtually my entire life. And now I can see. After being diagnosed with Stargardt's Disease at the age of 7, my life was never the same. But eSight changed my life and let me actually see. I now work for an emerging technology company, I travel the world and compete in golf tournaments, and I take care of my family”.
Yvonne, eSight user
How this breakthrough came to life
The reason eSight is the most sophisticated technological breakthrough for the legally blind is because it started with a totally different set of questions that the founder, Conrad Lewis, wanted to answer. Lewis, a successful engineer, has two sisters who are legally blind. He wanted to know if he could apply his engineering skills to create a solution for the blindness his sisters suffer with.
To build a solution that mimics, as closely as possible, how sighted people see, required the eSight engineers to develop a technological breakthrough that was hands-free, provides instant sight, enables mobility, and was versatile.
Thanks to the team of engineers the future looks promising for millions of people with sight loss and with technology changing daily we are confident that Sight eyewear will continue to change the lives of many more people who live with sight loss. Read more about Brian and his first experience using eSight eyewear.
The three B’s is a simple philosophy for maximising the sight you have by enhancing what you are want to read making items appear bolder, bigger and brighter; with the correct training from a low vision professional , selecting the right products and making simple adjustments, can make a big, bold difference to how independent you are.
Electronic magnifiers are one of many product solutions which allow you use the vision you have more effectively. With the inbuilt features of a digital magnifier you can enlarge the size of text, enhance the contrast and increase clarity allowing you to see things clearly.
Fundamentally making the text you are reading appear bigger brighter and bolder.
This means with the correct electronic magnifier at the right magnification you can carry on reading your latest novel, read up on a recipe in your favourite cook book, magazine, or just read your post.
Enjoyment doesn’t need to stop just because your sight is not what it used to be.
As well as using the right magnification, it is important to ensure you have correct lighting, you can read our latest blogs to find out why lighting is an essential adjustment you need to make in your home.
To get further support on the changes you need to make, a low vision professional can offer you training and guidance. Speak to your doctor about being referred for a low vision assessment.
So to summarise the 3b’s
Bigger- By increasing the size of text you want to read, this can make it easier to read. The Visolux DIGITAL HD electronic magnifier allows you to increase the font size: 2x- 22x, significantly greater on TV screen (e.g. up to 125x on 40" screen)
Bolder-Making things bolder simply mean improving the clarity and contrast of what you are trying to see. Whether it’s black bold lettering on a yellow background, or bigger bolder fonts. Many magnification devices have a built in function allowing you to adjust the colour and contrast to suit your personal requirements.
You may want black letters on a yellow background or you may want to dim the screen if it is too bright. Alternatively you may choose a different option but the choice is down to your preference.
Brighter-You can also use magnifiers that have a built in light to help increase the size of an object and make it brighter and easier to see. The extra light built into products like portable magnifiers offer not only the benefits of magnification but extra lighting to improve contrast.
Portable Video Magnifiers are significantly less expensive than desk top magnifiers and more portable. Some models have their own integral screen, variable magnification and are battery operated. The latest models can be connected to a domestic TV through an AV cable.
The Visolux DIGITAL HD from Associated Optical is an electronic hand held magnifier and can be simply placed over what you want to read and the one button operation turns the unit on, and the rest is easy and straightforward. The inbuilt camera projects the image on the screen allowing you to personalise the font size and colour; thereby maximising the 3’BS making items appear Bigger, Brighter and Bolder
“Since buying my magnifier from Associated optical, they were there to give me support once it arrived at home and I soon got the hang of using it to read my newspaper. I now would not be without this device and it has opened all a new world of reading since my sight started to get worse” Mary Jane recent user of Visolux DIGITAL HD
Education and Development are at the core of Assoicated Optical’s ethos and they are completely focused on ensuring customers are at the heart of their product development and training. They work closely with manufacturers and professionals in eye care to improve awareness around low vision. Their aim is to inspire customers through education, excellence in product design and solutions that enhance and improve independence for people with sight loss.
To discover more you can visit their website www.asssociatedoptical.com
Stay safer this winter with our top tips on reducing trips and falls both inside and outside your home. Each year, millions of older people fall and more than one out of four older people fall each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once also doubles your chances of falling again.
There are simple things you can do to keep slips and trips to a minimum. Be your own safety inspector and continually check your living space and keep on top of potential hazards by being aware of your surroundings. Ask a family member or friend to help you do an audit of your home to identify likely causes of trips and falls. By taking preventive measures, this will help with remaining independent at home and build confidence.
Prevention is better than cure. Make your home safer and get your eyes tested regularly.
What are the main causes of slips and trips?
If you have bifocal or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities, such as walking. Sometimes these types of lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
Provide advice and information for people in later life through our Age UK Advice line‚ publications and online.
Age UK Advice: 0800 169 65 65
Lines are open seven days a week from 8am to 7pm.
Suppliers of low vision aids, challenging perceptions and providing innovative solutions for independent living.
Tel 01628 600410
Disabled Living Foundation
Provides impartial advice on products and equipment that help with daily living. Some of the products mentioned in this article can be found on their website.
Tel: 0300 999 004
More people than ever have taken up reading since J K Rowling released the Harry Potter books and newly awaited book “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them” is capturing the imagination of young and old and encouraging thousands of people to re-discover their love of reading.
However, reading is something many people take for granted, and when you can’t see as well as you used to, it can become challenging. With the correct magnification and lighting, reading doesn’t have to be something you used to do but something you can carry on doing.
There is certainly no magic when it comes to magnification but more science, Associated Optical are the UK partner of Eschenbach who have been manufacturing magnifiers since 1913. In addition to their outstanding optical performance, all products from Eschenbach Optik are impressive in terms of their intelligent combination of visually appealing exterior and creative design.
There are many different types of magnifiers on the market and it is important to understand what you want to achieve with said magnifier to ensure you make the right choice. Understanding this is very important as there are many providers that promise magical solutions that do not deliver due to poor quality and over promising.
Stand Magnifiers come in a variety of styles and different strengths of magnifications. These type of magnifiers usually have a built in light which means when you place the stand magnifier over the page, the text is enlarged and the light offers more contrast. These types of products are generally battery operated and simple to use with magnification from 2x to 12.5x. Remember, the higher the magnification the smaller the lens, which is something the user needs to consider.
How to Use Stand Magnifiers;
Electronic magnifiers offer something extra to a basic stand magnifier which is why many people have chosen to use the Eschenbach smartLUX Digital which offers 1.7x to 12 x magnification and can be personalised to suit your individual requirements. By placing the smartLUX over your book, the built in camera magnifies the text onto the display. You can choose to change the display to suit you; the magnification can be increased or decreased. With many other inbuilt features as well as being very simple to use; makes this a truly fantastical solution to reading.
Whether you are enjoying your favourite book or just need a magnifier to read a label or instructions, an illuminated pocket magnifier is an alternative option. For spot reading which is reading for short term use, these types of magnifiers are really useful and come in many different magnification strengths. They are very handy and fit in your pocket or bag, making them ideal to take out with you.
It doesn’t matter what you enjoy reading there is a different magnifier to help you. Whether it’s the latest JR Rowling book, a magazine article, letters or a food label; you can gain more independence and feel confident with the right magnifier.
Myths about magnifiers
When working with magnification devices, it’s important to understand this general concept:
Remember a magnifier can’t hurt your eyes but it can be very frustrating using the wrong type of magnifier and if you do not know what strength magnification you need it is easy to come disheartened and give up reading. Reading has so many benefits and by selecting the right magnifier, you can re-discover the magic and lose yourself with your favourite author.
Top tip; get your eyes tested regularly and if you are worried about your sight ask your doctor to be referred for a low vision assessment where an expert will assess your sight and give you support and guidance on how to make the most of your sight.
Discover more fantastical magnifiers at www.associatedoptical.com or call 01628 600410 for further support.
Baking has never been more popular since programs like Great British Bake off hit our screens. This show has influenced thousands of people across the UK to pick up their whisks put on their aprons and re-discover their passion for baking.
It doesn’t matter whether you see yourself as a Nigella or a Mary Berry or Candice Brown (winner from Great British Bake off)... everyone can and should enjoy baking.
As we get older many people lose their confidence in the kitchen and stop baking as they may not see as well as they used to; but this should not stop you from perfecting your puff pastry or fruit cakes. The key to confidence and success in your kitchen is down to three simple steps;
Lighting is an essential ingredient whilst you are baking; there are simple methods to increase lighting levels in your kitchen. Add extra light by investing in good quality under cupboard lighting, which help to light up dark spaces. Portable lighting like the Z light is great to use in the kitchen as it is battery operated and has no trailing wires which can be a trip hazard, this can be used while you are measuring ingredients or reading recipes.
You don’t need to spend a fortune but make sure the lamp you purchase has enough LED’s to be effective and is bright enough to light up what you want to see and read. Read previous blogs on why lighting makes a difference.
Magnification - A product such as the Eschenbach smartlux DIGITAL can be used to read recipes in a cook book; with up to 12x magnification and a variable eye to lens distance, reading whilst cooking is made so much easier. The built in light is a handy feature too! There are many different magnifiers on the market to choose from and it is important to think about what you want to do and which magnifier is most suited.
Top Tip! Increasing lighting levels and introducing magnification are two key items that you want to add to your shopping list of ingredients. Remember; by increasing lighting and introducing magnification, you increase contrast which makes things much easier to see. Getting a low vision assessment can be arranged through your doctor and you will see someone who can help you determine what type of magnifier would suit your personal requirements.
Reduce Glare - to reduce glare minimise the amount number of shiny surfaces you have in your kitchen. Light shining onto shiny metal can cause glare and discomfort so minimise the amount of shiny stainless steel gadgets you have in your kitchen. You can still be stylish with matt surfaces and there are some fabulous bold colours on the market that are in fashion and can also help to improve contrast.
Contrast- For most people improved contrast means things are easier to see. Think about using different coloured measuring bowls, a white bowl will most likely blend into the background and the ingredients are harder to see. There are some great products on the market that are brightly coloured and offer great contrast like mixing bowls and chopping boards.
Talking kitchen scales are a low cost investment and make measuring ingredients much easier. A ‘Thoughtfully Designed’ set of scales incorporates a measuring jug with big bold numbers which are easier to see and the real icing on the cake is when you pour in your ingredients, the scales will tell you in a friendly voice the weight of the ingredients.
Protection - all responsible bakers need to make sure they can protect themselves against injury and this is no exception. Investing in some extra-long oven gloves will help to protect your arms and hands from accidental burns.
Useful gadgets -There are some great talking timers on the market to help you keep track of cooking times so you don’t end up with a disaster in the kitchen.
With so many gadgets available and great tips, there has never been a better time to carry on baking... Discover more visit www.associatedoptical.com
There are also a range of wider solutions and advice offered by the Disabled Living Foundation to help you keep mobile and independent at home. http://www.dlf.org.uk/living-made-easy
10 top tips to make the most of your sight using light!
With the dark night’s drawing in, we all can benefit from better lighting in our homes. Regardless of your age getting your lighting levels correct is important and the majority of people over the age of 60 need much more lighting than when they were 20. This is especially important for anyone with sight loss. It’s not just about adding light but understanding the type of lighting which will benefit you the most…
So why is the right lighting important?
1. You can make the most of the sight you have by improving the clarity and contrast of what you are looking at. This is especially important for both sight loss and someone living with Dementia.
2. When it is dark in your home, there is a risk of trips and falls and feeling nervous about moving around your home. Good lighting can make you feel more confident and comfortable.
3. Thinking about what you want to do at home and planning your lighting means you can enjoy your hobbies and daily living. If you enjoy cooking make sure you have extra lighting in your kitchen, on your worktops and under cupboard lighting can make a real difference.
4 If you are using portable lighting in your kitchen make sure you don’t have trailing wires as they can be a trip hazard. Ensure trailing wires are tucked away or better yet use battery operated lights to reduce the risks of trips and falls.
5. Reading- a desk lamp or floor standing lamp shining over your book below eye level will give you maximum benefits. Above eye level can cause glare and will make it harder to see what you want to read. Make sure the lamp is sturdy and does not topple easily; the base should be solid and the arm flexible to ensure you can target the light where you need it.
6. Keep lighting even throughout your home so you don’t move from one room to another and are suddenly faced with glare or brighter lights. This can cause confusion and it is much better to keep the lighting in your home even and add extra lighting with floor and desk lamps.
7. Lighting in hall stairs and landing is especially key and by ensuring these spaces are well lit, will help you to feel more confident when walking up and down the stairs. You can add extra sensor lights that come on when you need them most. These are relatively low cost and battery operated.
8. Be Prepared- when you go out take a small travel light with you as this is really useful when reading labels in a supermarket or menu’s. Battery operated lights are the best solution and are small enough to fit in a bag.
9. Choosing suitable portable lighting is important so make sure you buy a lamp that does not get hot to touch, the bulb does not protrude out of the shade and it is flexible allowing you to angle the light where you need it most.
10. Avoid glare which means make sure the lamp does not reflect from shiny surfaces and you are not getting glare from outside shining directly into your eyes. This can affect how independent you are in your home or out and about.
If you are concerned about your sight, a visit to your optician is a good place to start. If a problem is detected, you'll be referred to the hospital to see an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Your GP will be kept informed, and will give you extra support and advice if you need it.
Sandra Taylor, Marketing & Executive Coach. Developed solutions to improve the lives of people living with sight loss for over 20 years.