Hands-free Telescopes for Low Vision

The following article discusses the wide variety of hands-free telescopic devices that are available for people with low vision, as well as the many benefits of using these devices over hand-held options.

Low Vision Telescopes

There are many effective devices to assist low vision patients with everyday tasks. Such visual impairments often occur from glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. One of the frustrations of people with low vision is their inability to engage in routine daily activities, such as driving to the market, reading, writing a check, or recognizing the faces of friends and families. The psychological impact of losing these abilities can be devastating. 

Fortunately, there are a wide range of high-quality low vision telescopes today to improve distance vision (and other aspects of vision) and to allow people to resume normal lives. These telescopes include both hand-held and hands-free options, the latter including those that are affixed to the head, worn on a hat, or worn like spectacles. Additionally, low vision telescopes may be focusable or they may have a fixed focus.

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What Are The Benefits of Hands-free Devices?

There are many advantages to using a hands-free device:

  • Having your hands-free is essential for such activities as driving, holding a phone, eating, mowing the lawn, or doing a puzzle.
  • Elderly or disabled people can have difficulty with holding objects steady for extended periods of time.
  • Some activities may be difficult with a hand-held device, 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.
  • Hands-free options are always available, because you are wearing them. You don’t have to look for them, or remember to use them. 

Our low vision optometrist will provide guidance as to what will help each patient achieve their visual needs. To find out if these devices are right for you, speak with our low vision doctor to find out more.

Types of Telescopes: Galilean (also known as full diameter) and Keplerian Models

Telescopes typically come in Galilean and Keplerian models. The following are basic differences between the two:


  • focusable
  • provide a wider field of view than Galilean models
  • heavier and longer than Galilean


Galilean (full diameter)

  • fixed and focusable options
  • smaller and lighter than Kepler models
  • provide a more narrow field of vision
  • ideal for long distance vision from a stationary position
Types of Telescopes: Galilean (also known as full diameter) and Keplerian Models
Which Hands-free Telescopes Are Available?

Which Hands-free Telescopes Are Available?

Hands-free options include devices that are mounted on spectacles and those which can be attached to a hat or worn on the head. 

  • Bioptic telescopes: These spectacle style telescopes are helpful for drivers who require improved distance vision. It allows the wearer to switch between magnified and standard views. Sometimes, these glasses provide the requisite improvement in vision which enables people to safely drive a vehicle according to their state's DMV laws. Many U.S. states permit the use of these telescopic glasses for driving with vision loss.
  • Reading telescopes: These telescopic glasses are binocular and are favored by specialists for aiding people with reading materials and in partaking in other activities that require close-up vision.
Which Hands-free Telescopes Are Available?

Are Hands-Free Telescopes Right for Me?

The inability to partake in everyday tasks and activities because of low vision complications can be devastating on one’s self-confidence and independence. Thankfully, with advancements in medical technology today, there are many high-quality low-vision devices to improve quality of life. A hands-free telescopic device often provides improved vision for people with low vision while allowing them to retain the use of their hands.

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Low vision telescopes are prescribed following a comprehensive vision evaluation to assess for visual acuity. If you have low vision and would like to find out if hands-free telescopes are suitable for you, contact our low vision optometrist at (423) 710 3965. Patients with low vision visit our clinic from all over Tennessee, and we are proud to be a leading provider of low vision services for patients from Hixson, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley.

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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.
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