Low Vision Aids for Reading
In the world of coping with low vision, there are several aids that can help you read independently. Whether you are reading the a webpage on a computer screen or the latest paperback from your favorite author, there are several easy and affordable options that can help.
Your computer can help
There are a number of ways that you can adapt to using the computer so that you can be more independent starting with improving your web surfing. With most internet browsers, you can adjust the text on websites by holding the CTRL key while using the scroll wheel on your mouse, or while using the + and – keys on your keyboard.
For other computer tasks, and when that magnification is insufficient, many operating systems (such as Windows) have aids for the visually impaired built right in, including screen magnifiers, which enlarge text and images onscreen, and text-to-speech programs, which can read content aloud to you. There are also many software programs available for purchase that perform similar tasks and more. When in doubt, ask your low vision specialist. He or she may be able to recommend a particular program that best suits your specific needs. Alternatively (or in addition), a magnifier can be physically mounted to your computer monitor or your glasses to help you read the screen better.
In addition to adaptive aids for computing, there are a number of tools to allow you to read and write, even with low vision problems. One such device is a video magnifier, which consists of a video camera and a large screen. The camera, which can be handheld or mounted on a swiveling stand, is pointed at whatever you're working on and an enlarged image is sent to the screen for viewing. The magnification level is adjustable, so you can tailor the setup to your specific needs and whatever task you're doing. And a video magnifier isn't only useful for correspondance, it can also help you with daily personal tasks such as shaving or putting on makeup; just point the camera at yourself!
Other options include magnifying lenses for your glasses and handheld page magnifiers that allow books, magazines, papers and more to be enjoyed by those with low vision. For the ability to read at multiple distances, you might try an electronic head worn magnifier, such as the JORDY by Enhanced Vision. While wearing the special goggles, you can make adjustments with a control panel so that you can see things at near, far or intermediate distances. This kind of device can be especially useful for shopping trips, when you want to read the aisle signs with your distance vision, but still need to be able to read those tiny prices up close.
You are your own best aid
Adaptive devices are useless if they are not used properly by the right person. You must make an effort to find the most appropriate devices for you and learn the correct way to use them, so that you can fully enjoy the vision that you have remaining.
In addition, it's important that you consult your low vision specialist for product recommendations, tips and suggestions so that you always know the newest and best ways to continue doing the things that you love to do independently.
Another great resource for information on adaptive aids is a low vision support group. People who have been-there and done-that may be able to give you a better idea of what works and what doesn't.
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