Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
June 1, 1998

A new hand-held device that looks like a computer mouse is helping individuals with severely limited vision read books, letters, newspapers, or labels -- print they cannot read with standard spectacles. Dubbed "Max" by its maker, this electronic magnifier mouse is available at the Emory Eye Center for patients with low vision due to macular degeneration, glaucoma or other blinding diseases.

Manufactured by Enhanced Vision Systems, Max is an electronic magnifier that connects easily to any television set. The user simply glides Max, which has a tiny camera inside, over a page or label. Max captures the image and enlarges it onto a standard TV screen. Max automatically keeps the image focused as the user moves it over lines of print.

Max can magnify images up to 24 times normal size if it is attached to a TV with a 20-inch screen. Since it can magnify print on a flat or a curved surface, patients can use Max to read the stock market quotes in a newspaper or the label on a prescription bottle.

"The user can double the size of the image by connecting Max to the V-max head set," said Dr. Ned Witkin, director of the Eye Center's Low Vision Clinic.

The Emory Vision Clinic now offers patients a new digital visual system called V-max, which is portable, self-focusing, and unlike other devices, provides distance and close-up vision in one system.

Another benefit to patients is Max' affordable price. It is $400 for a color system and $300 for a black-and-white. Max is not covered by insurance.


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