Low Vision Resources

Be My Eyes App
Be My Eyes App
Be My Eyes App

According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people globally have some form of visual impairment. These impairments can vary greatly, and while some can be resolved with glasses, contact lenses, medications, or surgical interventions, many more have not yet been solved. This includes such conditions as an unaddressed refractive error (123.7 million), cataract (65.2 million), glaucoma (6.9 million), corneal opacities (4.2 million), diabetic retinopathy (3 million), and many more. With an increasingly aging population around the world, these conditions will continue to affect millions of people and how they live their daily lives. Read on to learn more about low vision and to view our list of recommended technologies to improve life with low vision.

Low Vision

Visual Impairment/Low Vision is defined as a reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses, contact lenses, medications, or surgical interventions and reduces a person’s ability to function at certain or all tasks. This can include an inability to see images clearly, color blindness, an inability to detect small changes in brightness, or even a sensitivity to light. While conditions that cause these impairments, such as AMD, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy, do not yet have a cure, ophthalmologists and occupational therapists are working together to make living with these conditions easier.

Solving the Puzzle of Vision Loss

Scientists and clinicians in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine understand the immense negative impact that these visual impairments can have on a patient’s life and are taking steps to help them see better once again.

Technologies Improving Quality of Life

Many devices can increase a patient’s visual ability with day-to-day tasks. For tasks involving longer distances like reading signs or bus numbers, patients can use binoculars or a bioptic spectacle mounted telescope. Telescopic glasses can even be used to drive in some states. In fact, in Pennsylvania, a bill was passed last year to allow telescopic glasses for driving starting in 2021.

For sustained visual straining, such as watching tv or going to the movies, newer technology is being explored such as IrisVision, which uses a virtual reality headset paired with a smartphone to help patients view the world around them. A study is currently underway at the University of Pittsburgh to see how much IrisVision assists patients to achieve their daily goals. An additional study taking place within the department is the GenSight study, which uses light-sensitive proteins injected into the eye, paired with a special pair of glasses, to increase a patient’s vision. Additionally, several apps for phones and computers now exist that can help patients with daily tasks such as reading menus, counting money, identifying objects, and so much more. These cutting-edge technologies and others are a significant piece in solving the puzzle of vision loss.

Free App Resources  from the UPMC Low Vision Rehab Department

For additional assistance please contact low vision rehab:
Office: 412-647-2237
Email: Holly Stants stantshc@upmc.edu

Reading/Book Apps


Amazon Kindle


Bard Mobile

Seeing Assistance

Tap Tap See

Be My Eyes

Seeing AI

Amazon Echo Show
Use show and tell feature.



Nearby Explorer

Talking Compass


WeWalk App

Other Information and Devices

WeWalk Smart Cane

Iris Vision


Amazon Echo Show
Use show and tell feature.