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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 242-248

Smartphone apps for visually impaired persons

1 Department of Glaucoma, Westend Eye Hospital, Cochin; Department of Ophthalmology, Little Flower Hospital and Research Centre, Angamaly, Kerala, India
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Jubilee Mission Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. John Davis Akkara
Department of Glaucoma, Westend Eye Hospital, Kacheripady, Cochin - 682 018, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/kjo.kjo_81_19

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As ophthalmologists, we often come across visually impaired persons (VIPs) whose poor vision we cannot improve. They would benefit with low-vision aids (LVA), but most are reluctant to use them. The visually impaired find it difficult to use advanced technology, as it is often not designed with them in mind. When the world switched from phones with keyboards to full-screen touchscreens, VIPs found it difficult without the tactile feedback of physical keyboard buttons. However, in recent years, there have been numerous innovative apps to assist people with low vision, to not only navigate their smartphone but also their environment and daily life. Programmers have made the use of the high-resolution cameras, gyroscope sensor, vibration feedback, and audio feedback to convert smartphones into LVA, often for free and with no additional hardware. The authors review some of the smartphone apps available for those with low vision. These apps can bring a certain level of independence and self-confidence in these people who are otherwise often dependent on others.

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