Frequently Asked Questions

Students experiencing vision impairment at The Center for Sensory and Complex Disabilities

Low Vision Simulator at work at The Center for Sensory and Complex Disabilities 

What are the simulators made of?
The simulators start out as a welder's goggle. We remove the some parts of the goggle and add materials to create the simulation. The sides, top and bottom of the simulators are made of a soft vinyl, and the front is made of a hard plastic. The lenses are made of plastic (polycarbonate).

Can I clean/sanitize the simulators?
Yes, you can. We use little alcohol wipes -- the kind the are used to wipe your arm before you get a shot. One wipe can clean two or three simulators. If your institution requires the use of a different substance ("hospital grade") you can use that, too. We have not received any feedback about damage to the simulators from the use of any disinfecting solution.

DON'T DO THIS: Don't take the simulator apart/unscrew the lenses, and DON'T DUNK THEM IN WATER. Just wipe with the sanitizing material of your choice.

Do the goggles block the light from the sides and from the top?
Yes. The goggles are made to protect the eyes of welders so they completely cover the eyes. The visual field through an unaltered goggle is about 40 degrees.

How many in a "set"?
There are 13 simulators altogether, and they are sold as a set or individually. This allows you to buy only the ones you want and in combinations that make sense for you. The French have a word for this: "al a carte".

Why do both eyes see the same? Don't people with low vision have differences in acuity or visual field in each eye?
People with low vision often have a different level of visual acuity or field in each eye. However, the purpose of the simulators is NOT to replicate an individual's functional vision rather, it is to give fully sighted people a good idea of the general issues a person with low vision might face. Also, if one eye has significantly better visual acuity than the other, the brain usually attends to the image from the preferred eye. In other words, a person who has 20/100 (6/60) in one eye and 20/400 (6/120) in the other will usually see at the level of the eye with better acuity when both eyes are used together.

Does it make a difference if I wear glasses or not when I use the simulators?
Probably. The simulators are designed to be worn over glasses. Doing this will help you experience a more accurate version of the stated acuity by not adding your refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism) to the mixture.

What does the red and black coloring in the diabetic retinopathy simulator represent?
The red color represents a fresh vitreous hemorrhage. Since it would be likely to settle to the bottom of the eye, the inverted image sent to the brain would cause it to appear near the top of the visual field. The black coloring represents vitreous floaters which could be the remnants of old hemorrhages.

What options do I have for payment?
We accept most credit cards and PayPal. We also accept wire transfers (bank transfer), institutional purchase orders, and checks. 

Are the simulators marked or labeled when I receive them?
Yes, each simulator is labeled with the item number, the name of the condition and its level of acuity or visual field.

How long does it take to get my order?
Typically, an order is filled in about 3-5 business days. Standard shipping via UPS, DHL or USPS Priority Mail adds on another 3-5 working days (for US delivery).
Read more: Domestic Shipping FAQs

Do you ship to *your country name here* ?
We ship all over the world. The most affordable method is US Postal Service (USPS) International Priority mail, but other options are available. DHL, UPS, etc are usually faster and more secure, but cost more than USPS. The customer is responsible for any and all taxes, fees and duties.
Read more: International Shipping Frequently Asked Questions

What about tax?
We don't collect sales tax from our customers. However, if you live outside the US, your country will probably expect the person who receives the package to pay any sales tax, VAT, fees and/or duties. Also, the carrier (UPS, DHL, USPS, etc) may charge a brokerage fee for getting your order through customs. Sorry, we don't know how much any of these charges will be.

What if I'm not happy with them after I get them?
If there was a mistake in the order or it arrived damaged, let me know right away. If the order is correct but the simulators are not what you thought they would be, just let me know (phone, fax, or email) and send them back in new, unused condition and I'll refund the cost of the simulator(s). You should also read the disclaimer.