The Disappearing Print

The Disappearing Print

Nationwide 7,208,700adults ages 16 to 75+ as reported in 2017 have vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses or medical intervention. The most common complaints are the inability to read typical print in newspapers, product labels, and on computer screens. Reading is a critical skill in much of our daily life and there are options for you regardless of your amount of vision. Good quality magnifying glasses either hand-held, stand models, or reading glasses are the first options to try. Keep in mind the glass/acrylic magnifiers have both a fixed magnification level and a fixed focal point. If you choose a 3X magnifier to read your newspaper which has on average 10 Pt. print size. To read your medicine bottle which has a font size of 4 pt. (or smaller) you would need a magnifier that is triple in strength (9X) to be able to read the text. This means you would need several magnifiers of various strengths to read the variety of font sizes. The stronger the magnifier, the smaller the lens will become as for the magnification to increase the lens needs to curve (think of those funhouse mirrors), the slope of the curve reduces the option of a larger magnifier as this causes distortion along the slope. Electronic magnifiers can zoom in or rotate magnification levels along with changing contrast and color settings that allow for one device to be used with fonts of various sizes and backgrounds. Products such as talking bar code readers or smartphone apps can read the product name and much more depending upon what has been included in that bar code.   Braille is another option for reading.  If you have not been taught Braille services from Hadley Institute for the Blind and Vision Impaired can provide Braille instruction in a correspondence course.   Braille displays allow the Braille reader to read books, magazines, and letters on a portable device connected to a smartphone or computer.  When Braille is not your choice, talking books or audiobooks are great The National Talking Book Service provides books on a cartridge that can be inserted into a desktop player which they also provide. Books can be also downloaded from a computer to a portable player or by using the BARD app found in the App Store or Google Play store. Commercial narrated books can listen on smartphones using Audible and many other apps. Smartphones and computers have accessibility features built in to enlarge text, magnify the images and text on the screen or have all text read aloud using a screen reader feature. Check out Accessibility on Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and phones and tablets using the Android operating system. Vision loss or blindness should not stop you from reading, contact TechOWL for more ideas

Article by Jule Ann Lieberman MS, Certified Low Vision Specialist and Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist

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JuleAnn Lieberman

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