A Long-Ignored Aid for the Partially Sighted

by Samuel M. Genensky


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Of the 1.77 million visually impaired people in the United States today, 1.64 million are partially sighted and not blind. This population has been neglected or misguided by both public and private institutions, because many could have been trained to participate more fully in a sighted society. Binoculars are one important visual aid that have long been ignored by clinicians. They are simple to operate, easily obtainable, and relatively inexpensive, and can be used in the home, in school, at work, while traveling, and while relaxing. Practical uses — which are demonstrated in this report both in words and pictures — include determining the status of a traffic light, ascertaining a street address, taking notes from a chalkboard, or watching television. For some, binoculars magnifying as much as twenty times can be useful. They can be supplemented with specialized equipment, such as close-up lenses. Also of interest are zooming binoculars, controllable internal irises, and telescopic spectacles.

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