Hands-free Telescopes for Low Vision

Published on
March 2, 2022

What is low vision?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines low vision as vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical treatments or conventional eyeglasses. A person with low vision often is told that there is nothing more that can be done for their vision. A low vision optometrist's role is to assist a low vision patient in maximizing their remaining vision through education, resources, low vision devices, and special optics. 

What is the importance of knowing the patient's goals?

One of the first things a patient will be asked when they come in for a low vision examination is what their goals are. It can be watching television or reading a book, seeing a pastor at church or watching someone walk across the stage. Hence, based on the patient's goals, the low vision optometrist can best guide the patient on what devices and optical aids will help them achieve those goals. 

Most low vision devices and optics are meant for a specific goal, for example magnifying glasses may work for short time periods of reading, but will not assist a patient in watching television. 

  • Full diameter microscopes - An example shown in the video above is a 2x full diameter microscope. These custom glasses would help someone at closer range. This one has a very large field of view, and it has no distortion at the edges of the microscope. However, with a fixed focus lens, it is only going to be good for when someone is sitting and reading something up close, and they would have to remove the lenses before they got up and moved around. In 6x microscopes, you'll get a lot more magnification, but you'll still get the same wide field of view. These would also not be suitable for mobility purposes, but only for sitting and reading.
  • Telescopes - The use of microscopes and prism readers will be mainly for up close tasks, while telescopes will be used for distance magnifying. These telescopes typically come in Galilean or Keplerian models.
    • Keplerian telescopes are focusable, have a wider field of view, are heavier and longer than Galilean telescopes.
    • Galilean telescopes (full diameter) are fixed, lighter and smaller than Kepler models. They provide a narrower field of view and are perfect for viewing long distances.
  • Prism readers - Prismatic readers would solve the mobility problem. Prism readers have a higher magnification power. They usually start at +4 and can go up to +12. When magnification reaches this level, a base in prism is prescribed. Essentially, the prism relieves the strain on the eyes caused by the patient holding the material so close to their face. A base in prism  is important because for magnification like this, the working distance has to become closer and holding the object closer can strain the eyes because they have to converge or cross together more.

What are the benefits of hands-free devices?

Hands-free devices have many advantages:

  • When you are doing routine activities such as driving, holding a phone, eating, mowing the lawn, or solving a puzzle, having your hands free is very important.
  • Older or disabled people may have difficulties holding objects steady for a prolonged period of time.
  • A hand-held device may make certain activities difficult, such as reading a paperback book on the train, reaching for an item in the supermarket, or shooting a basketball at the free-throw line.

Scheduling a Low Vision Exam

Before a patient is shown a device it is important for a low vision optometrist to fully understand the patient's vision and goals. Armed with that information the low vision optometrist can help guide the patient on the best devices for their needs and budget. We are fortunate to have the technology and products to maximize vision for so many patients. We welcome you to schedule a low vision exam at our Chattanooga office.


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
1 2 3 10


Carrots for eyes

Are Carrots Good for Your Eyes?

As an optometrist at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga in Hixson, one of the most common questions Dr. Heather McBryar often encounters is: "Are carrots good for your eyes?" To put it simply, yes, carrots are indeed beneficial for your eyes. Carrots are known to improve eyesight, and this is largely due to the wealth of vitamins […]

Read More

Understanding Foggy vision

Is foggy vision troubling you? Let our experienced optometrist restore your sight – book an appointment today and see the difference! The term foggy vision often refers to a visual disturbance characterized by blurred, cloudy, or hazy vision, which can make seeing clearly challenging. As your local optometrist, we recognize the significance of maintaining optimal […]

Read More

Vision Therapy for Nystagmus: Improving Visual Function and Quality of Life

According to the National Eye Institute, nystagmus affects approximately 0.24% of the general population in the United States. This means a whopping 720,000 individuals in the US face the challenges of nystagmus. How does Nystagmus Impact Vision?  Nystagmus is a condition that affects the eyes, causing involuntary and rapid movements that can make it difficult to […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga Logo

Working Hours

Monday - Tuesday
7:30AM - 5:15PM

Wednesday - Thursday
8:00AM - 5:15PM

Friday - Sunday

1043 Executive Drive Suite #101 Hixson, TN 37343
(423) 710 3966
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram