Technological advances have created many options for low vision devices. Electronic magnification, for example, offers several benefits compared to standard optical low vision aids. We’ve gathered information on the three major players in wearable electronic magnification: IrisVision, eSight, and NuEyes.
The IrisVision is a combination of a virtual reality headset and a Samsung smartphone equipped with the IrisVision app. The rig makes use of the phone’s camera to display a live image on the phone’s screen. The headset can be placed over distance glasses and adjusted for fit. From there, the wearer uses the unit’s focus wheel to tune the image for their needs. They can also try wearing IrisVision without glasses and seeing if the image can be cleared with the device's focus.
There are 3 main modes: scene (live), TV, and reading. While in each mode, brightness and magnification can be changed with headset controls. The latest version (3.0) features the IrisReader which uses optical character recognition (OCR) to read text aloud while it shows it on-screen. The last thing to keep in mind is that IrisVision is meant for seated activities, so the user should not walk while wearing the device.
The eSight is marketed as a pair of “electronic glasses.” The device is worn like regular glasses and can be customized with prescription lens inserts if necessary. The eSight uses a high-speed, high-resolution camera on the front of the glasses to capture live footage that is displayed on digital screens in front of the wearer’s eyes. Advanced software optimizes the image to the ideal focus for the patient.
A handheld trackpad operates as a small remote that can be used to adjust focus, magnification, color, contrast, and brightness of the screen images. The eSight also has the advantage of being usable at a distance and for intermediate and near tasks. Unlike the other two companies, eSight designed their aid with a patented bioptic tilt. This allows the wearer to move the glasses out of their line of sight and walk while wearing the device.
NuEyes offers options for both smart glasses and VR magnification. The NuEyes Pro is a pair of smart glasses similar to the eSight. They are worn like regular glasses and have a camera that autofocuses the image being viewed. The image is then translated live to LED screens in front of the wearer’s eyes. Like the eSight, customs prescription inserts can also be ordered if necessary.
NuEyes Pro is controlled via a wireless remote or voice commands. The Pro can be used for distance, intermediate, or near tasks. The images can be altered for color, contrast, and magnification. Like the IrisReader, the wearer can choose to use its OCR and Text To Speech (TTS) technology in order to have text read aloud while it is being viewed.
NuEyes e2 is a self-contained VR unit. It is similar to the IrisVision, but it does not require a smartphone. A camera on the front autofocuses images at all distances and displays the image on digital screens in front of the wearer’s eyes. It makes use of buttons on the headset itself to change magnification and contrast as well as to enable OCR.
With an increase in the average age of the patient population and a larger pool of aging patients seeking care, more and more patients will need low vision aids. Technology is ever-evolving, and it’s important to stay knowledgeable about the latest devices to best serve your patients.