Visual impairment comes in many forms. From colour vision deficiency to total vision loss, the many shapes of visual impairment mean there’s a lot of misinformation; when people here “visually impaired”, they often assume total blindness. This misconception can be harmful; fortunately, knowledge of visual impairment is growing, and more and more manufacturers are creating technologies which can be used by people with all kinds of different vision problems. A perfect example is locks; for years, the only locks you could find were those that could be fitted with a key. For people with myriad different types of visual impairment, this level of hand-eye coordination could be challenging; there are now a plethora of different locking mechanisms that are easier to use.

Electronic door locks are outfitted with keypads, similar to the kind you might use to unlock a safe. Some of these keypads are pretty small, but others are designed with large numbers, black backgrounds and white font, the stark contrast making them easier to see, the lack of colours making them suitable for those with colour vision deficiency. These locks may also come with Braille below the numbers or embossed numbers, making them easier to use by those with total blindness.

The use of digital technology to improve ease-of-use doesn’t stop there. Smart locks are becoming more popular; they come in a wide array of styles while still keeping your premises secure. One type of smart lock, the Kwikset Kevo, detects whether your phone or a key fob paired with the lock is nearby when it’s touched; if your phone or the fob is detected by Bluetooth, it unlocks when you touch it. Other locks react to voice commands; pull out your phone, speak the command words, say a security phrase, and your door is unlocked. These tools are incredibly handy for anyone, but can be especially useful for people with visual impairments.

Online connectivity serves other useful purposes for smart locks. Visual impairment can make it difficult to know whether or not the door is closed properly; it can feel closed, but swing open with the wind. Smart technology can alert you when your door has opened unexpectedly, or when it’s not locked; additionally, smart locks can be programmed to lock automatically at certain times of day, assuaging potential fears of doors left unintentionally unlocked. A well-qualified locksmith will be able to set up smart locks for you; not only that, they’ll be able to review the technology with you, ensuring you know how everything works.

We’re incredibly glad that Winnipeg eye care goes beyond the optometrist in this day and age; more and more people are creating technology and tools to help those with visual impairments. This more connected, compassionate and caring world is something we can all move towards, and we’re proud to play our role in improving vision for all.