The two “best friends” for those with macular degeneration are magnifiers and lights. But when we think of a magnifier, we usually think of the traditional large round magnifying glass with a handle that can be used to enlarge the words of what we are reading or perhaps to see a photograph or picture more clearly. This is called “near vision.” But really we only use our near vision a small portion of the time.
Seeing things in the distance, like recognizing a friend’s face at church or enjoying the spring
time blossoms on a Yoshino cherry tree are just as important as seeing things close up. Magnifying one’s distance vision keeps us more connected to the world around us. So does that mean you have to carry around a pair of binoculars all the time, constantly bringing them up to your eyes and focusing them to see things a couple of feet or several yards away?
Not at all. Thanks to the work of Dr. Henry Greene, optometrist, founder of Academy Eye Associates, and co-founder of Ocutech, Inc., distance magnifiers can be mounted on a pair of
glasses so that they can be used any time. These glasses, also called bioptic telescopes, make it possible to enjoy activities you thought only belonged to your past. Golfing, gardening, or enjoying a football game or a local play not only keeps you active, it keeps you connected to friends and family. Poor central vision or the inability to see the winning football touchdown or the beautiful costumes of a musical separates people from those who can see. It can be isolating and lonely and leads to feeling disconnected from those around you. It is not just being together that bonds family and friends, but it’s the shared enjoyment of seeing your grandchild play soccer or admiring the paintings of your favorite artist that builds relationships and special memories.
Those who have loss of central vision due to macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, Albinism, Stargardt’s Disease, optic atrophy, myopic degeneration, nystagmus, or macular holes can benefit from these special glasses. Bioptic telescopes can be used for other activities as well like watching television, seeing faces, traveling, shopping, seeing blackboards in school, computer screens, board games, or playing cards.
Dr. Henry Greene explains how these glasses work, what kinds of bioptic telescopes are available, who is a candidate for them and what makes Ocutech glasses different from other brands in a recent interview:
Leslie Degner, RN, BSN