What is that big computer screen thingamajig set up on your table?” That’s what they ask.
“It’s one of the most important pieces of visual assistive devices in my house. It helps me to see!” That’s what I say.
So what is it? It’s my CCTV magnifier! Actually, it’s my Optelec ClearView C + Speech CCTV. I’ve had it for 2 years and It’s awesome (Watch video demo below)!! I remember the day I first saw it. I knew I had to have it from the moment I touched it. It was just beautiful as it sat at a technology trade show in all it’s high definition glory! It’s magnification was absolutely magnificent. The way it spoke to me, with the touch of a finger, would make any blind girl swoon. I had to have this gorgeous thing in my life! Why? I wanted independence. Yup. MY. Independence.
First, let me say that CCTV magnifiers are generally for people with “low vision“. Meaning, if your eye doctor tells you that your vision cannot be fully corrected with ordinary prescription lenses, medical treatment, or surgery, and you still have some usable vision, you have low vision. Now that we’re all clear on that… Let’s talk about the CCTV! A CCTV is a combination of a camera, a mount arm for positioning of the viewing monitor, lenses that have the ability to zoom/enlarge, and viewing modes with color choices and contrast options for best visual assistance. Many have a touchscreen, and can have scanning and speech capabilities. Most come with a movable platform underneath the camera to place any printed material or photos on. This is a pretty basic description. They can be much more elaborate or simpler depending on your needs.
With a CCTV’s ability to assist with reading, people with low vision, like myself, can read the mail, important papers, labels, books, Packaging, or a card from a friend. You can view yourself writing checks, notes, lists, addressing envelopes, or filling out simple forms. I know someone who uses her CCTV to do needlepoint and paint artwork. Speaking of paint… you could also paint your fingernails under it. Yeah, no thanks. I don’t have the visual patience for that. Just wanted to mention it, in case you do!
With the variety of magnifiers and a range of capabilities available nowadays, you really need to narrow your choices down to what will work for you and your visual needs. I came across 4 points you may want to review from the Enhanced Vision website. They may help determine which CCTV you may want to check out, or request from a state agency or organization, or purchase on your own. Good luck!
Check out the Optelec “ClearView C” demo video below and visit the Optelec website for more information and recommendations on assistive tools and equipment.
GGB NOTE: I received my CCTV from the California State Department of Rehabilitation 2 years ago. I am not endorsingAny product or website. All experiences and opinions are mine.