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Low Vision Devices Level the Playing Field for Children with Vision Loss

Ben using high contrast app on the iPad

Low vision is defined as “a permanent loss of vision that won’t improve with eyeglasses, medicine or surgery.” If a child has any degree of vision loss, low vision devices can make a life-changing difference. Magnifiers, telescopes, iPad and Android apps, slant boards, large print keyboards, task lighting and more have the potential to help a child with visual impairment use their remaining vision to overcome learning challenges and succeed. Women Helping Youth has provided generous funding for a variety of these beneficial devices for each Partners for Pediatric Vision Family Specialist to demonstrate as part of a child's eye exam. If our partner doctors recommend specific devices, we help families obtain them through the public school, special grants or loaner programs.

Women Helping Youth (WHY) is a women’s giving circle established in 2006 committed to improving the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of children and young adults in need in the Greater Los Angeles area. Members of WHY direct their donations by choosing grant recipients after an extensive screening process. Partners for Pediatric Vision is grateful for our partnership with WHY that is making a difference in the lives of children in need. The impact of their generosity to purchase our low vision device library is far-reaching:

  • Families receive individualized recommendations for how low vision technology can maximize the use of their child's functional vision as an integral part of the child's vision exam at no additional cost.

  • Children with visual impairment use their remaining sight with the help of optical devices, technology and visual stimulation to reach their full visual potential and increase success and independence.

Low Vision Devices in Action!

Aliyah reading thanks to 4x magnifier and slant board

Aliyah was born with Septo Optic Dysplasia, a rare congenital malformation associated with vision loss and endocrine abnormalities. Aliyah’s mother was told by the doctors in the hospital that Aliyah was not able to see anything but lights. When Aliyah was three months old, her mother came to Partners for Pediatric Vision and our partner doctors for a better understanding of Aliyah’s vision. Our partner Low Vision eye doctors gave Aliyah’s family the good news that she is not blind, and she received her first pair of glasses. Since that time, our Family Specialist has helped Aliyah learn to use her remaining vision to advance her learning and independence. Aliyah is using a 4x magnifier and a slant board to enlarge the words in her book and read without having to strain her eyes or bend over to bring it closer.

Rosa using a portable video magnifier to do classwork

Rosa has Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a genetic eye condition that was diagnosed when she began to have trouble seeing at night. RP is progressive, and Rosa may lose most of her sight. The portable video magnifier Rosa is using, called a Pebble, is one of the devices funded by Women Helping Youth for demonstration. The Pebble is not something that Rosa’s school could provide so our Family Specialist submitted a scholarship request through our partnership with the Lions Club. Rosa is ecstatic to have received the Pebble which is portable and helps her view printed material such as tables and maps. It is small enough for her to take shopping to see labels. Rosa is extremely independent, and this device helps her read everything without assistance.

Rain trying out a telescope to see across the room

Partners for Pediatric Vision Family Specialist, Diane Christian, had the privilege of meeting Rain and his mother during his eye exam at University Eye Center at Ketchum Health. At school, Rain has access to a desktop electronic video magnifier to read books and worksheets, but he was having problems seeing the board. During the Low Vision examination, Rain was able to try out a telescope that will help him to see exactly what the teacher is writing. The telescope will give Rain the same opportunity as his sighted peers to read and understand the lessons at the time the teacher writes them. His mother was grateful for this step toward increasing his independence and self-esteem. When she learned that Rain’s vision is stable and that he may be able to drive when he gets older, she was overjoyed.

Family Specialist Samantha demonstrating a dome magnifier to Derek

Derek is a very bright and engaging, five-year-old. He has nystagmus, astigmatism, and myopia as a result of his diagnosis of Albinism. Because of his eye condition, Derek has trouble seeing small print. Samantha Gama, his Family Specialist, showed him how the dome magnifier will decrease eye strain and fatigue make reading much easier and increasing school success. Derek was able to take the dome magnifier home thanks to the generosity of our donors who help pay for magnifiers for families in need. The dome magnifier will help him see print wherever he goes. Derek's three-year-old sister also has Albinism and he is excited to show her how to use it as she learns to identify letters and numbers.

If you would like to donate a low vision device to a child in need, your support will help us keep kids in sight: For more information, please contact us at 323.612.8185, email us at or go to our website contact page:

To learn more about the impact made by Women Helping Youth, visit:

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