Thursday, October 15, 2015

Low Vision's Magic Wand



Recently I met several people who were diagnosed with eye diseases that threaten their central vision who have asked me for help.  I am not a fairy godmother, but I do have a “magic wand,” the 20/20 pen that writes like a felt tip pen but leaves a line that is about four times wider.  The 20/20 pen can easily be held with a small stack of unlined index cards by a rubber band.  These tools fit easily into a purse, pocket, briefcase, or back pack.  As my central vision got worse over a 20 year period, I was able to change from 3X5 cards to 5X8 cards and also increase the size of the print I was writing.  Large print written with a 20/20 pen can be read with peripheral vision for lists, phone numbers, and addresses.  Some office supply stores sell small index cards that have two holes that fit into index card holders.  These small notebooks make excellent, portable address books or places to store passwords and website addresses.  These items can also be used when making Braille flash cards.  (Braille is a skill that should be learned as an investment to be used if needed later like a savings account.)  Mini cassette recorders and digital recorders are often recommended for taking notes.  I have not found this technology helpful because it is not private when you need to make a note in a public place. 

If I were a fairy godmother with a real magic wand, office supply stores would sell 20/20 pens.  They can, however, be found online at www.amazon.com, www.nfb.org (National Federation of the Blind), www.independentlivingaids.com (Independent Living Aids), www.shopaph.org (American Printing House for the Blind), and other companies and organizations that sell Low Vision or Print Writing Aids.

These “magic wands” won’t guarantee that you’ll live happily ever after, but they will make loving what is left while living with low vision much easier.    

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