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Accessibility & Technology

CCTV Magnifiers for Visually Impaired People

Apr 29, 2024

CCTV Magnifiers for Visually Impaired People

Simple tasks of everyday living become arduous for people with visual impairments. The challenges include: reading mail, filling in paper forms, signing documents, writing checks, reading instructions on product packaging, as well as seeing images and photographs.

These are some of the difficulties that can be compensated by a video magnifier, also known as CCTV’s or electronic magnifiers. At the right time and in the right context, these high powered magnifying devices can help people, with vision loss, maintain independence. 

What is a CCTV Magnifier?

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems are more commonly known as security surveillance system, which can make this reference rather confusing. In more current terminology. Think of it as a system designed to magnify everyday objects. It uses a high-definition camera to capture an image, which is then projected onto a built-in screen in a magnified form. With adjustable magnification levels, users can enlarge text, photos, or objects, making them easier to see.

Benefits of CCTV Magnifiers

  • Increased independence: Reading mail, medication labels, bills, and even enjoying hobbies like reading or crafting become possible again.
  • Improved visual detail: Tiny details that may have been invisible before are now magnified and clearer.
  • Reduced eye strain: No more squinting or straining to see small print.
  • Versatility: CCTV magnifiers come in various configurations to suit different needs.

Different Types of CCTV Magnifiers

  • Desktop CCTV Magnifiers: These bulky yet powerful models are ideal for home or office use. They often have larger screens (up to 24 inches) and adjustable arms for positioning the camera. Some even come with features like text-to-speech conversion, allowing users to hear the magnified text read aloud.
Video demonstrates desktop magnifier by Optelec
  • Handheld CCTV Magnifiers: These compact and portable magnifiers are perfect for on-the-go use. They are lightweight and can be easily carried in a bag or briefcase. Screen sizes typically range from 3 to 5 inches, and magnification power is lower than desktop models.
Video demo of Enhanced Vision Pebble HD handheld magnifier

Choosing the Right CCTV Magnifier

With an array of features available, selecting the right CCTV magnifier depends on individual needs and preferences. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Magnification Power: Indicates how much the image can be enlarged, ranging from 2x to 13x for handheld devices and up to 50x for desktop models. 
  • Screen Size: A larger screen is easier on the eyes, especially for extended use.
  • Lighting: Adjustable lighting can improve contrast and visibility, particularly helpful for people with macular degeneration.
  • Ease of Use: Choose a magnifier with user-friendly controls and clear instructions, especially if you’re new to this technology.
  • Weight and Portability: Consider weight and portability if you plan on using the magnifier outside the home.

Additional Considerations

  • Try before you buy.  Be sure you have a 30-day return policy with full refund. Use the magnifier every day and be sure it works for your needs. 
  • Warranty: A longer warranty ensures peace of mind in case of malfunctions.
  • Cost: CCTV magnifiers can range in price from $500. to $4,000. depending on features. Explore options through vision rehabilitation centers and vendor payment programs.

Where to Find a CCTV Magnifier

  • Vision Rehabilitation Centers: These centers often offer consultations to assess your needs and recommend suitable CCTV magnifiers.
  • Online Retailers: A variety of online retailers sell CCTV magnifiers, allowing for comparison shopping.
  • Medical Supply Stores: Some medical supply stores may carry CCTV magnifiers as assistive devices.

Living Better with a CCTV Video Magnifiers

CCTV magnifiers can empower people with visual impairments to see text documents and images better with an ability to increase in size and contrast on a video screen in high definition. By choosing the right features and exploring available resources, you can find a CCTV magnifier that best suits your needs and helps you live a more independent and productive life.

Consult with a vision specialist to determine the most appropriate assistive technology for your specific needs.

Resources to explore:



Enhanced Vision

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About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.



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