Microscopes are a helpful visual aid used to help people with low vision read and perform tasks from up close.

Microscopes in Hixson

What are Microscopes for Low Vision?

If you are struggling to read or to perform various tasks from up close, such as hobbies like sewing or doing the daily crossword puzzle, there is no reason to let your low vision prevent you from doing so. There are so many visual aids available to help you see from up close and microscopes are one of them, with their own variety of different types. Microscopes are high powered lenses that offer a small field of vision, but help people with low vision be able to perform tasks from up close. Due to the fact that microscopes are primarily used for short distance vision, they are usually used with one eye, monocularly, because converging both eyes when you are looking at a target in such close proximity is very challenging for the visual system. In most cases, the microscope is used by the patient’s dominant eye and the other eye might have what is called a balance lens which is something to keep both lenses looking as symmetrical as possible when only one eye has the microscope.

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Types of Microscopes for Low Vision

There are several different designs for low vision microscopes, which provide varying functional and aesthetic options. Based on your individual needs, the low vision doctor will be able to recommend which microscope would work best for you. Some available options are described below.

Bifocal microscopes

These microscopic lenses are implemented into glasses that have the distance prescription in the top half and then the microscope is mounted on the bottom half, similar to bifocals. These are recommended for people who regularly switch between near and distance vision. There is an added feature that a colored tint can be added to these lenses for patients who benefit from filters.


Full Diameter Microscopes

The microscope is placed in the center of the lens and is used for near vision only. It is a lightweight system with a wide range of powers available, and it tends to be very easy to learn how to use. Although you have to use this while performing a task from quite close up, there is a great depth of focus which means that there is maximum focusing flexibility for the person using it. Due to the fact that this microscope is used from close up, it often is used in just one eye, monocularly. In such a case, a similar looking microscope can be placed on the second eye for a symmetric cosmetic effect, however it won’t have any power. This type of microscope prevents various optical disturbances, known as aberrations, that one could experience from using a microscope or other high powered optical aids. If you have a distance prescription it can be incorporated into the full diameter microscope along with a tint, if you benefit from using filters. 


These high-resolution microscopes are aesthetic and are known for providing clear vision. It has the widest field of vision that also avoids distortions which often come with wide visual fields. If you have an astigmatism, your cylinder correction can be added to these glasses which makes reading so much clearer. Due to the fact that this microscope is used from close up, it often is used in just one eye, monocularly. In such a case, a similar looking microscope will be placed on the second eye for a symmetric cosmetic effect, however it won’t have any power.

Prismatic Microscope

This is an optical system that involves both microscopes and prisms. One eye has a high plus microscope to help focus up close while the other eye has a prism to help the visual system focus so close up without strain.

One Piece Prismatic Half Eye

These reading glasses look like half eye readers where the lenses just cover the bottom half of your eyes so that you can look down through them to read. These glasses are high plus to help people with low vision see clearly up close while still maintaining a more cosmetically appealing appearance. One eye has the high plus microscope while the other eye is looking through a prism that eases the strain on the visual system which occurs when looking up close through a high plus.

HighPower and Telephoto Microscopes

Both of these microscopes are mounted in the center of the lens and are usually given in one eye, monocularly, because of the very close working distance.

The Telephoto is a microscope that allows you to read at a farther distance than its competitors. It has a wide field of vision while still maintaining clear vision without distortions. 

The High Power Microscope is designed to be more cosmetic for people with low vision who require a high magnification.

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Microscopes are useful low vision devices that provide magnification to assist people with low vision to be able to perform tasks up close. If you have low vision and would like to learn more about the options available to you that can enable you to read and do activities that demand up close vision, you can click here to book your consultation today, Book an Appointment . 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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