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Technology Gifts for People With Vision Loss

What you give may inspire — from high tech to low tech and everything in between!

Whether it is for the holidays, a birthday, or a special occasion, most of us are always looking for just the right gift for someone. If that someone is visually impaired, there are many assistive technology devices and solutions — from high tech to low tech and at range of prices —  that can make their world easier to negotiate. There are also basic tools available that can help with everyday tasks and make a world of difference.

We asked Lighthouse Guild experts to provide gift ideas for people who are blind or have low vision. We compiled a list of some of the latest assistive technology and some tried and true solutions. You will notice that some of the devices in the list can be purchased through our Technology Center. Not only are you buying a special gift, but some of the proceeds from your purchase go towards supporting our services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals!

Tech Gifts: What to Consider

As you review the list of potential tech gift options, please keep in mind that it is important that some of the devices require training for optimal use. Lighthouse Guild recommends that anyone interested in using technology should get an assessment by a vision care expert to determine visual capacity, lifestyle, personal goals, and comfort with technology. Once a device is selected, it is important that the user receive training by experienced adaptive technology specialists and occupational therapists

High Tech

To help with reading and navigating surroundings.

OrCam MyEye

This cutting-edge technology reads text aloud. The mini-flashlight-size device can be adjusted to capture an entire page, a small portion of text, or the results of a specific search. It achieves precision focus by using two lasers and linking with an online or offline Bluetooth device. Prices start at just under $2,000 and increase to $3,700 for the pro version.

IrisVision

Pairing the Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone with stylish, sunglass-style spectacles, IrisVision is designed to simulate a full visual view by filling in missing areas of sight. The GearVR device is offered with custom software for about $2950

eSight Smart Glasses

By projecting images onto high-resolution screens (one per eye), these modified glasses deliver full binocular vision. Rechargeable, they typically function for at least three hours on a single charge. Prices start at $3,000 for a basic pair.

Eyedaptic Glasses

Created to compensate for central vision loss, these glasses use special lenses that magnify and project the full visual field onto an unscathed portion of the retina, simulating full-field vision. Some wearers have reported seeing their loved ones’ faces for the first time in years, and being able to read, watch television, and cook without relying on “side vision.” Prices start at $2,000.

Sunu Band

Warn like a wristwatch, Sunu vibrates when an object or person comes too close. Meant to provide extra protection to the head and upper body, which can be left vulnerable while using a cane or guide dog, Sunu can be purchased for just under $600, not including an accompanying premium monthly subscription.

Optilec ClearView GO Video Magnifier

ClearView GO offers the same reading comfort, ease of use, and functionality as a desktop video magnifier but in a compact and foldable design. It is the ideal solution for people who need magnification at different locations. Its foldable design makes it easy to store or take on the go. Prices start at $2995.

Humanware explorē 8 Video Magnifier

An 8-inch touchscreen digital handheld magnifier available for desktop or distance viewing. Magnifying up to 30X with stunning image quality, it has all the benefits of a large screen in a very compact package. Prices start at $1099

Freedom Scientific Onyx Deskset HD

A portable video magnifier that adapts to multiple environments and tasks for productivity at school, work, and at home. The design integrates a high-definition camera and monitor to help the user see, whether it’s across the room or at their desk. The 3-in-1 flexible camera provides document reading, distance viewing, and self-viewing modes with versatile controls. Prices start at $2400.

Blindsquare Accessible GPS Application

Billing itself as the world’s most widely used accessible GPS application, this support system offers a selection of voices and languages to narrate the user’s surroundings. It can announce points of interest, warn of upcoming intersections, and talk people through their journey. This cost is $39.99 for the app.

Where to buy: BlindSquare is available for iPhone and iPad in the App Store

Aira

The premium version of the app connects users with trained agents who can assist with mobility, personal finance chores, and other daily tasks. The service is also offered free-of-charge in some airports, at selected tourist sites, and at some retailers and universities. It is available for Android and iOS for a subscription of $29-$199/month.

Where to buy: Aira

Amazon Echo Dot Smart Speaker with Alexa

People who are blind or visually impaired can use this voice activated tool for tasks such as texting, phone calls, list making, checking on the calendar, turning devices on an off, calling 911 and much, much more. Prices start at $19.99

Where to buy: Amazon

By shopping through smile.amazon.com, your purchase can go further with a percentage supporting Lighthouse Guild.

Low Tech Gifts

Simple solutions that make a huge difference.

Talking Watch

With the simple press of a button, talking watches reveal the time, date, day, and year in an articulate human voice. Talking watches can be used by people with a variety of visual limitations and needs. Prices start at $12.95.

Where to buy: Maxi Aids

Say When: Liquid Level Indicator

This battery-operated device fits on the edge of a cup or mug.  When a user pours liquid into a mug or glass, an audible alert sounds before the liquid reaches the rim — preventing over-filling and messy spills. Price $15.00

Where to buy: Maxi Aids

Verilux Smart Lamp

Gooseneck style lighting is very helpful for people with low vision as it can be raised and lowered in order to direct the light for reading and tasks. Prices start $100

Gifts under $10

Writing guide

Openings in a flat plastic guide define an area in which someone with vision impairment can write. Writing guides are available for a variety of tasks, such as writing and signing checks and letters, and addressing envelopes.

Where to buy: Maxi Aids

20/20 Bold Writing Pen

A bold writing pen  with high-visibility, black ink that is easy-to-see and read for people with low vision.

Where to buy: Maxi Aids

Writing Guide kit

A great gift set: 5 different guides (letters, personal check, envelope, business envelope and signature), 20/20 Bold pen and bold lined paper

Where to buy: Maxi Aids

Cafeteria Tray

Trays are a very helpful way to contain activities such as food prep and dispensing medication organized and within reach. 

Where to buy: Maxi Aids

Bump-dots

Bump Dots have a variety of uses for tactile marking of everyday items such as some remote controls, computer keyboards, telephones, appliance controls, buttons and switches.

Where to buy: Maxi Aids

Ezy Eye Drop Guide and Wash Eye Cup

This helpful tool enables a user place eye drops in their eyes accurately without blinking or wasting drops.

Where to buy: Maxi Aids

For more information on technology to help people with vision loss or about Lighthouse Guild’s Technology Center

Contact us at techcenter@lighthouseguild.org

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Lighthouse Guild is dedicated to providing exceptional services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals.