Practical New Year Guide: How to Shop with Low Vision?

Shopping for bargains has become part of the holiday celebrations, for some of us, it can even be the best part.  However, shopping with low vision takes planning, and that is especially so at this time of year, when the stores are busier, and people tend to be paying less attention to those around them.

People with 20/200 vision can be put off by it all as a result, but our New Year shipping guide for low vision individuals will show you how you can get some retail therapy, safely and confidently. You can grab a bargain and enjoy the experience too, here is how.

Understanding low vision shopping challenges

To find the best shopping solutions, it is important to understand the low vision shopping challenges that people face. There are two areas where things can be difficult, the first is navigating the physical spaces around any store. During the sales around New Year, most stores you go into will be much busier than usual, and that can make it much more difficult to find your way around.

With lots of people as well as more signage for sales and offers, finding the right area where the products you are interested in can be much harder. Not only that, but during sales the store may change where things are, so even places you know well can become a challenge to know where to go. Normally, this can be overcome by asking for help, and that can work here too, but assistants are also a lot busier during sales and you may not always be able to find someone in store to help.

low vision shopping challengesThere are ways around this though, and being prepared for these problems means you never have to worry about them.  New Year sales shopping can be a great day out with friends, and having someone with you to help can make the whole thing much less daunting. You know you won’t have to rely on store assistants, and that can be confidence building.

But what if you want to go on your own, or don’t have anyone to go with that day? There are a number of tools for shopping with low vision to help you here too, so you don’t have to miss out on the bargains. One of the most useful is a handheld video magnifier. Its easy to use and will allow you to read small shelf labels and other text, so you can find exactly what you are looking for.

That magnifier is also useful for checking product information and labels too, and with a number of Zoomax handheld video magnifier products to choose from, such as the Luna 6 or Luna S, you can have the right device in your pocket wherever you go.

Online Shopping Solutions for Low Vision Individuals

Of course, these days you don’t have to visit a store to buy their products, and there are New Year bargains to be had online too. However, here there are other difficulties to overcome. While some stores do use accessible online platforms, with built in tools for shopping with low vision, many do not. However, a number of independent living aids can be really useful here, with digital assistive technology for visually impaired individuals helping you to navigate websites and find those shopping deals.

A screen reader can help here, reading the text on every page you visit. There are physical devices and software solutions for this, depending on your needs, but these will allow you to navigate online stores even if they are not especially low vision friendly, so you can make the most of the New Year sales.

online shopping solutions for low vision individualsFor some sites, you don’t even need to use screen magnifiers. Smart home voice assistants cover a wide range of activities, but have become really useful assistive technology for visually impaired individuals along with everything else they can do. Alexa and others can also be used for shopping, so you can order items from the sale by asking your voice activated assistant to do it for you. Its fast, easy and reliable, and a great option to grab a bargain.

Assistive Tools for Shopping with Low Vision

We have already mentioned a few, but there are a number of tools for shopping with low vision available to use. Each of these independent living aids can help make the shopping experience easier, faster and more enjoyable, so don’t forget to have yours with you when its time for some bargain hunting.

Handheld video magnifiers

shopping with luna 6Available in a number of sizes, from devices that fit in your pocket to larger options that resemble an iPad, they can really make your life so much easier when out shopping. These handheld devices can magnify areas of a screen, a label or any image or text so you can see it more easily, and are some of the best vision loss solutions on the market. Some Zoomax handheld video magnifier models, such as the Luna 6 and Luna S, can magnify up to 19 times, and with high contrast, make it easy for you to read even the smallest shelf label when you are in a store. Both Luna 6 and Luna S offer the complete package of portability and performance that makes them an essential for every trip.

shopping with luna s

They are very easy to use too, hold the device up to the label and the screen will show a magnified image. It’s very convenient, and as small, lightweight tools, you can take them with you wherever you go. They are great for reading menus too if you stop off for a bite to eat on your shopping expedition.

Smartphone Apps

We all carry a smartphone wherever we go, including when out shopping. Our low vision shopping guide wouldn’t be complete unless we mentioned how you can use your smartphone to help make your shopping easier, and there are a number of things you can do.

assistive tools for shopping with low visionMagnifying apps for visual impairment turn your smartphone into a handheld video magnifier, so if you don’t have a device like a Luna S, they can be a great option. Apps don’t have the performance of a dedicated device, but they do work and can be a real help. These apps use the camera on your phone to see the labels or whatever you want magnifying, and then create the magnified version on your phone screen. They are dependent on the quality of the camera on your smartphone as a result, but most smartphones are capable enough these days.

The other thing you can do with your smartphone is make shopping lists. Now, this is not a specific for shopping with low vision, but is an important tip for sales shopping in general. The problem with big sales is that it is easy to get carried away or overwhelmed. If you make a list of the things you want beforehand, it is much easier for you to stay organized and plan your route, ask for help in locating an item and so on. You also don’t end up coming home with bags of things you don’t really need, which is always a bonus. You can make a list using a notes app, make a voice note and so on, so you have a plan and stick to it.

new year shopping with low vision

As our New Year shopping guide for low vision individuals shows, by planning ahead, having the right tools and an idea of what you want to do, you can make the most of the sales and have a fun time as well. By thinking ahead, you can overcome any low vision shopping challenges and go grab yourself a bargain with complete confidence.


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