What are CCTV digital magnifiers and can they help me read?

Published on
January 5, 2022

One of the common magnification devices for people with low vision is what is called a CCTV or closed circuit television. Basically, what this does is it utilizes a camera to project the image onto a screen. So imagine you have something that you're trying to read like a newspaper, and the individuals able to place the newspaper underneath the camera on a table, the camera then takes the print from the newspaper and projects it onto a monitor, the patient can then turn the magnification, so we may be able to magnify it 5,7,9,12 times. You can also change the contrast. So if it was newspaper print, which is a kind of gray writing on a lighter gray background, the individual can change that to where it looks like it's black on white, so kind of an enhanced black and white contrast. Or they can do what's called a reverse contrast where it makes the text look white and the background look black. 

CCTVs are great devices for patients to use. When they were first available, they were all available in a desktop version. While they were extremely functional, they were quite large for many patients, and they weren't portable at all. Now what we see as the technology continues to emerge is that they became more portable. Now we have devices that have those same benefits of digital projection and ability to change contrast, but now we can also put them in our pocket-book and take it with us to church, grocery store, or wherever the patient may be going. 

Another feature of the CCTVs that are great is the ability to not only help a patient read themselves, but also having the text automatically read to the patient. Many of the latest models of CCTV have what is called OCR capability, or optical character recognition. What OCR means is that the device is able to recognize text on the page within that image and then read that out loud. So for a patient who maybe has difficulty sometimes using their vision, they can now listen to any text that they want being read to them.

Learn more about portable digital magnification here


To schedule a low vision exam call our office at (423) 710 3965


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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