Prismatic Magnifying Readers (PMRs) and Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs) treat macular degeneration and other vision loss conditions (low vision). Dr. Randolph Kinkade, a Connecticut optometrist and founding member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, understands how to maximize eyesight when there has been permanent vision loss.
Low vision can make daily activities such as reading the newspaper, writing a check or driving the car difficult or impossible. With low vision, the vision loss cannot be corrected completely with regular glasses, surgery or medication.
Macular degeneration is the most common cause of low vision. However, other eye conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, optic nerve disease, eye injuries and birth defects can lead to permanent vision loss. This vision loss can be mild to severe.
Low vision means people have to change how they do things. Special low vision glasses (high-power and telescopic), large print, video magnification and special software are devices to help with vision loss.
“Magnification is the key to low vision treatment”, said Dr. Kinkade. “Magnification in the form of glasses, rather than having to hold a magnifier, is the ideal goal for low vision rehabilitation”.
There are limits to how much effective magnification a regular pair of glasses can deliver. The more magnification that is required to read, the closer the reading material must be held to the glasses.
Prismatic Magnifying Readers describe glasses coined by Dr. Kinkade. They offer increased magnification while allowing both eyes to work better together for additional enhancement. The vision needs to be relatively equal in both eyes for PMRs to be most beneficial. These glasses reduce the eye strain and fatigued often accompanied when reading material must be held close. Holding reading material close allows for the extra magnification.
Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs), also a term coined buy Dr. Kinkade, offer magnification at a more normal reading distance. SMTs use 2-3 lenses in combination to provide the power and increased viewing distance. They can be fit for one or both eyes. They can be helpful for seeing playing cards on the table, reading piano music, or painting. They can also be useful for distance magnification for seeing faces, television, and road signs.
“Due to laws of optics and physics and the anatomy of the eye, as magnification increases the field of view decreases”, said Dr. Kinkade. “When the field of view deceases, less of the page can be seen at a time. This means that the patient must learn to scan more across a line of print when reading”.
Proper and enhanced illumination is the other major assistive treatment for low vision.“High magnification and better illumination is often the difference between reading and not being able to read with low vision” said Dr. Kinkade.
About Dr. Randolph Kinkade
Dr. Kinkade is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry Low Vision Section and a member of the Vision Rehabilitation Section of the American Optometric Association.
Dr. Kinkade has a master of public health degree (MPH) from the University of Connecticut where he concentrated his studies on the prevalence and treatment of low vision.
He has offices throughout Connecticut: Cheshire, Danbury, Farmington, Litchfield, Manchester, Norwalk and Waterford.