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Using A Computer With Low Vision

While using a computer with visual impairment may turn out to be difficult at first. But, with the myriad low vision devices, specially designed software, and accessibility options on computers today, it has become much easier for the visually impaired to use computers.

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Uses IrisVision to Overcome Low Vision

Low Vision Aids To Use With The Computer

You can use the usual low vision aids you use for reading and other tasks for the computer too. Some of the low vision devices which can be used for this purpose are:

  • Spectacle-mounted magnifying reading glasses
  • Loupes
  • Telemicroscopic glasses

Accessibility Options And Special Software On Computers

The following are the settings and software that can facilitate the use of computers for normal tasks.

Screen Magnification

Screen magnification can be achieved on computers either using specific screen magnification software or changing the settings on the browser and existing software.

The following are a few ways

  • Use ‘Ctrl’ and ‘+’ keys (‘command’ and ‘+’ keys for a mac) to zoom into a page on your computer screen. To zoom out, use the ‘-’ key instead of ‘+’. Use the ‘0’ (zero) key to come back to the original size of the screen.
  • You may also find a ‘zoom’ option in the ‘View’ menu at the top of the screen. You can also keep the option ‘zoom text only’ checked.
  • Change the font size in programs like Microsoft Word and similar programs you use to a size you are comfortable with.
  • Use a third-party software that is designed for screen magnification. With these, you can magnify the mouse pointer, icons and other things on the screen along with the text. Examples of such software include SuperNova Magnifier, Zoom Text, and MAGic.

Software for screen reading

Screen reading software is another beneficial innovation that helps people with low vision who find reading difficult. For example, if you have problems like tunnel vision or if your central vision is blurred, you may find it difficult even with the use of low vision aids, magnification, and software. Screen reading software would be very helpful in such cases.

These software use OCR systems (Optical character recognition systems) to scan text on a page and convert it into sounds. Screen reading software can read not only text but also give you the description of icons and cursor location, etc. So, you can use these even if your vision is severely affected.

Some examples of support software you can use are:

  • Special screen reading software like SuperNova Screen reader, MAGic LVS, and Zoom Text Magnifier/Reader.
  • In-built screen readers like Apple’s VoiceOver and Chrome’s ChromeVox.
  • If you can read but need help with words, software like Panopreter, ReadSpeaker Text aid, and Natural Reader allow you to select the text that you want to be read.

Voice Assistants or Speech-to-text converters

Most devices today come with voice assistants like Siri. Use these and such special software to write and execute commands.

Screen Settings

You can change the settings on your computer screen to increase the contrast. You can change the brightness level to your preference too. Make settings to see dark text on a light background if you are comfortable that way. If your eyes are sensitive to brightness, the other way round may work better for you.

Suitable Hardware

Special computer hardware is also available to help low vision patients. Some useful devices are

  • Keyboards with large print, large keys, or high contrast keys, keyboard stickers, and braille keyboards
  • Ergonomically designed mouse. You may benefit from a large and cordless mouse
  • Notetakers
  • Braille computing equipment
  • Screen hoods to keep the bright light away from the computer screen

Why Visit YESnick Low Vision Center In Las Vegas? 

Using a computer today for many is more than just another hobby they enjoy, it is the way people conduct business, read the news, keep in touch with their loved ones, and even access entertainment. Patients with macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetes, retinitis pigmentosa, stroke vision loss and other conditions that cause severe vision loss often note that computer usage is one of the most visual functions they would like to be able to do again. Luckily the wealth of options both in terms of dedicated computer programs, as well as low vision aids, can allow most patients with low vision to use the computer again. At YESnick Low Vision Center in Las Vegas, our Low Vision Optometrist and Low Vision Therapist will give you a hands on demonstration with the latest tools and help you choose the best aids and programs to improve your functional vision. 

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