How Technology Helps In Low-Vision Occupational Therapy

Through the sense of sight, humans relate to their peers, recognize and receive information about their environment and context, and interact with it. Ocular alterations and different pathologies that directly or indirectly affect vision restrict visual information perception.

Low vision generally decreases participation in Activities of Daily Living; it can hurt quality of life, impacting social participation and well-being. The achievement of personal autonomy and independence for the person with low vision requires and implies the collaboration of various professionals, including the occupational therapist and others, such as the ophthalmologist, the optometrist, visual rehabilitation therapists, specialists in orientation and mobility, and social workers. 

An essential function of the occupational therapist is to advise on support products that facilitate occupational performance and train people to use them. Although occupational therapists have rehabilitated individuals with low vision since its inception in 1917, they have yet to play an extensive role in this field.

New technology has been in use in low-vision occupational therapy. In recent years, technological expansion has been continuous, influencing all aspects of human life to the point that today’s society is known as the Information Society.

If you want to stay updated about new technologies and their use for blind people or people with low vision, keep reading, and we give you all the information that you need

Low-Vision and New Technologies on Your SmartPhone

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) are established as essential sources of support for people with some type of disability, representing a solid potential while providing a wide variety of utilities that can help the individuals alleviate or overcome some kind of disability. They constitute an excellent opportunity for the integration of people with disabilities in the school, work and social world, contributing to improving their quality of life and normalizing their situation.

Several phone apps can help individuals with low vision. Properly used virtual assistants like Siri or Google Assistant can improve the quality of life for people with this kind of disability. Some apps give detailed descriptions of your surroundings, and there are services that connect highly trained agents with visually impaired people to help them with daily tasks, including mobility tasks such as giving directions, navigating obstacles on a path, and describing an environment in real time.

Even AI applications have been designed to help people who are blind or have low vision. With the use of the phone camera, it has the capacity to augment the world around the user, tell where the people and objects are —up, down, left, right— and even they can read handwritten notes.

Several apps and tools for your phone or tablet can be handy to improve the daily life activities of a person with low vision and are very useful for low-vision occupational therapy.

Low Vision Assistive Technology

Assistive technologies increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities. They are nothing new; an example of this kind of technology is a hearing aid device for the deaf.

The support and accessibility of these devices help people with low vision perform activities that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for them to perform. Last year, a blind competitor used assistive technology to win a significant video game esports tournament. That is the reach of these devices.

Beyond braille, several devices exist to help visually impaired people. Assistive technologies include screen magnifiers, optical character readers, and web page readers for individuals with visual and learning impairments The program allows users to read printed materials on their own or allow visually impaired users to navigate Internet pages with a voice synthesizer.

More modern examples of these devices are rings that scan text and read it out loud, a touchscreen capable of creating figures and braille, smart glasses for blind people or those with low vision, headphones that transmit sound through bones and 3D sound maps.

Assistive technology goes beyond your phone or tablet and provides devices that low-vision occupational therapy can use when it is used properly. An occupational therapist can teach people with low vision the use of these tools and how they can improve their quality of life.

Teaching Elderly People with Low Vision to Use Tablets

One of the great challenges faced by occupational therapists is teaching elderly people these new technologies. These individuals generally experience low vision. However, the loss of brain plasticity that comes with age makes the process of learning new things particularly difficult. The ageing people end up getting frustrated and giving up.

Some studies on women between 68 and 81 years of age confirm that the use of new technologies is substantially beneficial for elderly people.

The responsibility falls on the occupational therapist to make them see the benefits of using these devices, that not only analog technology is available and that the improvements in quality of life are substantial, so it is worth making an effort to try to learn the proper use of these devices.

Final Thoughts

The application of technological tools as support products in people’s various occupational areas represents a constant source of solutions for people with blindness and low vision, providing higher levels of personal autonomy and well-being.

New advancements in technology help individuals with disabilities have better access to information, gain greater independence, improve communication, achieve educational and career opportunities, and participate in social and communication activities. An outstanding occupational therapist who remains updated on these new trends in this field will increase the quality of the patients’ lives.

If you are asking, “Where can I find an occupational therapy near center me?” – Connect with us without delay. Via our network, you will find medical assistance for the treatment of your personal injuries and recovery processes that best fit your needs.

We can connect you with the best occupational therapist specialized in visual impairment, treating individuals with both blindness and low vision (congenital or acquired) and accompanying the victim in acquiring the greatest possible independence and autonomy in daily activities. Contact us for more information. We are always at your back.

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    How Technology Helps In Low-Vision Occupational Therapy