Decisions about Low Vision Equipment

The following entry is by Gail Johnson:


Decisions, decisions, and decisions, we make them everyday. What happens when decisions get stalled on the tracks? Perhaps, my experience can help you avoid stalling.

Recently, I attended a 12 – week workshop presented by NC services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in my county. I had been a speaker for one of the group a few years ago. When this opportunity came up to participate, I was skeptical that the program was only for newly blind and V-I.  As I quickly found out, it was for me, too.  We had classes on every aspect of living with our visual problems. Not a question went unanswered by either teachers or classmates until the class on adaptive equipment.

During this class, I asked everyone questions of “what do you have”? “What should I get”? “Why do you like this one and not that one”? I must have been “hitting a button on those tracks” as a vendor answered me by saying, “there is no wrong decision, it is up to you and what is best for you. Not for anyone else. You can’t go wrong on a purchase as you can return it after a thorough work-out”. But, “there are too many choices” I said. “How do you expect to use the equipment?” the vendor said. So, began a discussion, which ended my years of searching for the perfect piece of equipment for the right price.

My decision on that day came after many, many years of looking, using on a trial basis, reading about the equipment and saving the money to buy equipment. Why now, do you ask? I finally realized there was no one size fits all or one piece for everything.  I chose two pieces of equipment.  A small portable camera based device that fits well in my hand, to magnify print when generally, I am away from home. And, a larger, lightweight portable camera on a stand which attaches to an HDTV to both magnify print as well as bring distance closer to me such as in a classroom.

Price, of course, was part of the decision making process. From the beginning of my search, I had looked at every piece so that included the high price magnifiers along with the lower priced ones. The vendor showing me tried to keep within my price expectations at this point. That is very important as one can try out the most expensive piece and be very disappointed when it is out priced a budget. I think that point is a wise salesman’s way of making a positive sale as well as helping me to find proper, useable pieces.

The best news is I am using my magnifying equipment everyday as long as I have HDTV, to enhance my reading at home, in the classroom and traveling. I feel better about making decisions as if the weight had been taken off my shoulders. The confidence I gained through this “light blub” moment of no decision is a wrong decision as it can be changed. Remember, no decision is a decision. In some ways, I wasted time looking at so many pieces of equipment over the many years of not buying. I have learned to think about three simple words as I analyze the situation.  I now focus on the HOW, WHY and WHAT before I get too far into a decision. HOW I would use the equipment, WHY I need it and WHAT price point do I need to stay with. Yes, I am an “organized” decision maker. A plus-minus delta works well for me only to a point.  WE make decisions everyday so the next time I am stuck on the tracks of a non-life threatening decision, I feel confident that I will not take many, many years to make up my mind. All I have t do is remember how much this new equipment has helped me and would have helped me over the years past.

How about you?  Are you stuck in making a decision?  Try writing down your plus and minus delta, figure out your price range before you try out equipment by looking in the magazines for blind and visually-impaired and online resources. Then, remember most decisions are not wrong and it can be returned (be sure to ask about the free return trial period). With my newly found confidence in making decisions, I am no longer stuck but free to enjoy a completed decision.

Take the opportunity to join a class for blind and visually impaired people.  Everyone can learn at any stage of his or her visual loss and especially if one’s vision has recently changed. Given the opportunity, take it.  It may be the best decision you have made in a long time. During the class, you find yourself thinking about the WHY, HOW and WHAT of making a decision.


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