How can hands held Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) help people with low vision?

Published on
August 10, 2022

Approximately 12 million people 40 years and over in the United States have vision impairment.

Hands held Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) systems have improved the quality of life of people suffering from low vision through providing them with a high-tech vision aid that magnifies images, improves color contrast, and is hands free. CCTVs primary use is to magnify what is seen by using the video camera to provide magnification on reading materials or other things when we need to see something on a bigger screen. 

What a portable CCTV? What is it used for?

A portable CCTV works the same way as a conventional CCTV (which are usually very large and kept in one place at the home, work or school), except that it is in a handheld design. The benefits of a portable device is that it can be put in a pocket or purse and brought to the grocery store, to the classroom and for any thing that is outside of your home and work. Portable devices have become increasingly popular and versatile. 

  • Increased magnification - For a portable device,let's say you want to see a menu, so you'll place this over it. In addition, it has its own lighting system, which is very useful for video magnification, and it can have various magnifications.  Like a desktop device you can use it to magnify anything from reading, drawings, arts and crafts, sewing and more. Everything is conveniently projected onto the screen at the desired magnification and other settings. Another example is magnifying school materials and then flipping the camera to magnify what is on the board.  The great thing about CCTV is you can adjust the magnification anywhere from two or four times all the way up to almost 30 times. That is all the magnification you have at your disposal.
  • Changing the contrast - As it is a digital device, you can also change its contrast. For instance, if you're still not getting enough contrast with the original colored image, you can switch to various ones and select the one that suits you best. Some people are more comfortable with less lighting. Nevertheless, contrast can make a big difference as well.
  • Taking a picture - With certain systems, if you are looking at a map and want to get directions to somewhere, you can take a photo of it, and then you can move it, essentially freezing the image. From there, you can even zoom in if necessary, and then when you unzoom or take off the freeze, you're back to the live feed.

How heavy is a handheld CCTV? How long does the battery last?

They are usually very lightweight but it does depend on the device. Their battery usually lasts about five hours, sometimes more, and they come with a portable charger.

For example the Ruby 7 HD, a popular option has these specifications:

  • Continuous zoom with 2x–24x magnification
  • See more on the vibrant 7-inch screen
  • Lightweight design at 18 ounces
  • Fast reading with no blur
  • Unique PivotCam rotating camera
  • Advanced Features
  • Freeze Frame with adjustable magnification and panning
  • Adjustable Reading Line and Masks to keep your place
  • 20 high-contrast color viewing modes so you can adjust text to be easy on your eyes
  • Built-in reading stand
  • HDMI port to connect to your TV
  • Save images and send to computer with USB port
  • 4 hours continuous use
  • Includes charger, carrying case, and USB cable

Schedule an appointment at Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach

If you or your loved one has low vision, and standard magnification tools do not provide the visual improvements needed, you may want to consider a CCTV device. Our low vision optometrist can provide many options that can allow low vision patients to regain their independence, work, read and participate in other recreational activities again. 

Find out more about how CCTV technology and other visual aids can improve your quality of life by booking an appointment with our low vision optometrist today by calling (562) 925-6591.


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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