Patients with low vision often feel frustration when attempting even the simplest of tasks such as deciphering money or reading a food label, according to Georgia Crozier, OD, MS, Moore Eye Institute, Abington, Pa.
Difficulty with functions of everyday living often leads to isolation, which causes a myriad of complications from the physical to emotional, she explained at an OrCam Technologies-sponsored event at Moore Eye Institute.
OrCam MyEye, a wearable assistive-technology reading device first garnered Crozier’s attention in November; her practice now offers demonstration days for their low vision patients to try the device and ask questions.
The wearable device instantly and discreetly reads printed and digital text, from any surface, including newspaper, smartphone screens, soup cans or street signs. It utilizes a smart camera mounted on the wearer’s eyeglass frame that is connected to a smartphone-sized computer/battery. About the size of a lipstick, it weighs less than an ounce.
MyEye also scans and recognizes bar codes and human faces – by first taking their picture and storing it with the device.
It does not operate on Wi-Fi, so there is complete privacy, Crozier said.
The device may be appropriate for those with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and other conditions, she said.
The newest model, MyEye 2.0, “is the most advanced artificial machine vision technology,” Motti Attia, regional manager at OrCam said at the event.
“When I started working in the field of vision rehabilitation, I discovered a whole world of very interesting people and I really enjoy what I’m doing for patients,” Crozier said.
MyEye does not require patients to be tech-savvy, she said.
“With low vision we’ve always used equipment that patients needed to adjust,” she noted. “OrCam doesn’t require patient participation on that level.”
Other low vision technology is task-specific, and patients can end up with various vision tools and magnifiers for everyday use, which can be a burden, she added.
“OrCam spans all tasks. It has really created a tremendous amount of independence in my patients,” Crozier said.
Food shopping at the supermarket under fluorescent lights can be especially complicated for those with low vision, she continued. Reading food labels independently while grocery shopping is one of the proudest accomplishments that her patients experience; it has made a difference in their lives.
The device also recognizes color, Attia said.
“People that are visually impaired are resistant to do things, because of their visual challenges” Crozier added. “OrCam helps to open their world up again.”
“There are a lot of good products available, but not all technologies are right for everyone,” John Poth Jr., president of Sage Vision, said at the event.
Poth and Attia pride themselves on good service support and patient follow-up, they said.
“You need a local person to support the patient,” Poth said. – by Abigail Sutton
Disclosures: Attia is employed by OrCam, Crozier practices at Moore Eye Institute, and Poth is employed by Sage Vision.