University of Edinburgh

Introducing children to Low Vision Aids

Thursday 19 April

Low Vision Aids: Recall

Janis Sugden April 2007

Current Policies
ALL children in mainstream with very few exceptions.
It is of the utmost importance that any potential barriers are removed LVA’s can be beneficial yet less than half use them. WHY?

Frequency of LVA use

Low Vision Aids Use (LVA) in Children with Visual Acuity < = 6/18 and >1/60

Source of Information Number of Children Number using LVA Percentage Using a LVA
Parents 216 86 40%
Teachers 154 64 42%

Age Group

Only one pre school child

  • 74% of primary children (9-10 years)
  • 33% of 11-12 year olds
  • 72% between the ages of 13 -16

Visual Acuity Groups

  • As visual acuity becomes poorer a greater percentage of children reported to use LVA’s.
  • This trend dips in the poorest visual acuity group.
  • Pupils with no additional disabilities are more likely to be using LVA.

Educational Placement and Use of LVA’s

Type of Placement Total No of
Number using a LVA Percentage using a LVA
Pre-school 31 1 3%
Mainstream Pr 87 48 55%
Special Pr 9 2 22%
Mainstream S 22 13 59%
Special S 5 0 0%
Total 154 64 42%


  • Inconsistent use of LVA between home and school and during transition from primary to secondary.
  • Children of a developmental age of 2-3 years can be taught to use LVA.
  • Cross discipline and coherent service delivery required.


  • Basic Training for Children in the use of LVA

stand magnifier

bar magnifier

ball magnifier

Stand & Hand Magnifiers

  • Scratches = dirty lens = degrading image quality = poorer vision.
  • Use correct spectacles.
  • Is VIP right or left handed?
  • Which eye has best acuity? Use it!



  • Possibly the most difficult to adapt to.
  • Small field of view makes locating the object of regard difficult.
  • Depth perception: objects appear nearer and closer together than they are.
  • Requires a steady hand (blurring)


  • Wide range available.
  • Portability?