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Helpful Tips For Using a CCTV

by: Southwest Low Vision 1-888-534-4321

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Placement of the CCTV unit on a standard table or desk is often too high for proper reading with a CCTV and may cause neck and shoulder strain. To help reduce the development of neck or shoulder strain, use of an adjustable chair or table works best. Either of these items will allow you to sit at the proper height – which is when your eye level is a few inches below the middle of the monitor screen.

Location of the CCTV unit in the room is another important factor. The CCTV should not be placed next to a window where the sun shining in can cause glare on the monitor screen. The lights in the room should be evenly distributed and not focused directly on the CCTV user or the monitor screen.

Read for only about 15-20 minutes at a time when you are a new CCTV user because your eyes will get tired quickly from this new method of reading.

Take breaks often until you have adjusted to this new style of reading so that your eyes have a chance to rest. Without rest, your vision can seem worse than it actually is. For some, eye-strain can also develop.

Ease of use comes with time and practice. Be patient! This is something new.

General Tips:

1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back supported.
a. The bottom portion of the screen should be just below eye level.
b. Do not tilt your head backward or forward in a way that can lead to neck strain.

2. If you have difficulty locating something in your reading or working material, try this trick:
a. Locate the place on the page where you want to start reading. Put your finger on the spot. Keeping your finger on the spot, place your material under the CCTV. Then look at your finger on the monitor.
b. Ask someone to use a highlighter (green or purple) to outline the area of a page that is important. This can be especially helpful when using a map where you are locating information within a certain block or neighborhood.

Writing Tips:

1. Make the writing surface stable.
a. When you first start writing, try locking down the table, and move your hand across the page. When you run out of line, you will need to move the paper or unlock and slide the tray.
b. When you are more comfortable with writing, you can choose to move your material or the tray. One option is to move the tray slowly to the left as you write so that your hand does not move.

2. Use as little magnification as possible when writing. You may find that if you enlarge the page you are writing on too much, your writing will be too small to read.

Writing Paper:

1. Lined paper is easier to write on than blank paper. The lines provide you with a reference point for your letters.

2. Experiment to find the kind of lined paper that works best for you. You may want to use bold line paper and a marker at first, then move to regular lined paper and a pen as you become more comfortable with writing.

Writing Implements:

1. Many people prefer using a medium black “Rolling Writer” or “Uniball” pen for writing under the CCTV. Writing is sharp but not thick when these pens are used.

2. Try using a pencil when you might need to erase. Many people are able to see writing in pencil under a CCTV. But remember, the darker you write, the more difficult it will be to erase.

Holding the Pen:
1. Focus your attention on the tip of your pen as you write. Keep your hand out of the magnified image by gripping the pen further back.

2. Try to hold the pen naturally. Make sure it is not blocking the light.

Other Uses:

1. Use the CCTV to read directions on the back of food boxes, cans and medicine bottles. When the object is a cylinder, you will need to slowly turn the object to the left to read the print.

2. Shiny objects sometimes reflect bright light into the camera. You may want to slightly tilt a photo or shiny object toward you, or rest it on the edge of a book, until the reflection goes away.

3. Don’t limit your use of the CCTV just to reading! Use it to view a remote control, calculator or telephone keypad.

4. You can also use your CCTV for needle threading, craft work, drawing and painting, or painting fingernails!

MODE Tips:

1. Use the color mode:
a. If you have sensitivity to glare; the background is softer.
b. For looking at food labels.
c. When working with needle and thread where color is important.
d. To view photographs
e. When ordering items from catalogs.

2. Use the Black-on-White mode for:
a. Reading text
b. Writing
c. Materials with colored backgrounds to heighten contrast

3. Use the Black-on-White high contrast mode for:
a. Reading the newspaper
b. Reading anything with a dull background
c. Anything you need extra contrast

4. Use the White-on- Black mode for:
a. To reduce glare or light
b. As another option for adding contrast
c. If your eyes become tired while using black-on-white.