When you struggle with low vision issues, you may have several activities that are impacted and can’t necessarily be performed the way they once were capable of doing so. I get it and know that it can be frustrating for you. Depending on what the activity it is and what exactly your low vision condition is, your options for low vision devices can vary and the ones that you can choose to use to help aid you through the everyday task or hobby may have varying levels of effectiveness.
This may be reading books, watching television, writing or even viewing your computer screen like you are now. One of the questions I wanted to discuss today relates to computer use for individuals with low vision issues. Are their low vision aids for computer use? Here is what I can tell you on this subject.
So, are their low vision aids for computer use? Yes, low vision aids are available for computer use in a variety of manners. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish, but an example could be eyeglass mounted magnifiers, handheld magnifiers and even specialized software that can help you use a computer with more ease.
Let’s dive into more of the specifics about the topic and cover what aids are available to you and how you can start enjoying using your computer for work, reading or just regular pleasure and enjoyment. Here we go.
More on Low Vision Aids and Computer Use
Individuals with low vision needing assistance with viewing a computer screen have been an issue for a long time. So much so, that internet browsers now allow for magnification to be performed from right within the browser by clicking the small magnifying glass icon and increasing or decreasing your text size.
In addition, other tools have been around but may have remained quiet or unknown for quite some time by many people. Devices such as stand-alone magnifiers, handheld magnifiers, and eyeglass mounted magnifiers are just an example of a few of them to start things off.
The entire point it to help you enlarge the screen size and font size of text to get you back to performing an everyday task on your computer or laptop. It’s 2019, and the ability to use a computer with ease is becoming more and more essential every single day. In fact, it’s to the point where nearly 50% of the US population alone is expected to work remotely or from home by 2022.
That’s a staggering number and goes to show how important it is to have a computer ready and available and easy to use regardless of the low vision problem that you are currently going through.
Let’s start with going over the more basic options.
Screen Magnification with Computers for Individuals with Low Vision
This is going to be your most basic form of enhancing your vision for using a computer. It’s merely using the tools built into the operating system itself to help aid you through the process of enlarging text, images and other objects you may be toying with on your desktop or laptop. In most situations, you can just press the control key on your keyboard and zoom out using the minus key. You can also zoom back in and keep messing with the sizing until you find the most ideal fit.
Using Non-Built in Software for Screen Magnification
Using non-built in software is also another option you have when using magnification tools to help aid you with your computer use. This would be private or third-party software that you would install on your device separately, set up and then be free to use it.
Third-Party software is always going to be a better scenario. It’s not only going to enlarge the text for you, but it’s also going to go the extra mile to make all icons appear larger, mouse pointers and cursors will be larger and other navigational items will be more significant and more visible.
This helps immensely toward using every function possible on the computer regardless of how low vision you are currently battling against.
Screen Readers, Help with Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma Vision Problems
This is another fantastic option and is geared toward helping individuals with specific issues such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or tunnel vision. If you suffer from any of these issues, it may cause a great deal of eye strain to continue reading text on a screen for an extended period.
Screen readers can help. It’s basically a software that converts the text into talking or sounds so that you don’t have to fight the strain or continue reading when it’s just not bearable anymore. Even totally blind people can benefit from software such as screen reading programs. It may not be the full experience but sure is a great option.
Almost any computer after Windows 2000 can have this software installed and active. I’m not sure who still uses Windows 2000, but just in case you do, at least you know the options are available to you as well.
Handheld Magnifiers with Computer Use
Hey, I still like this as an option and I’m sticking to it, but it doesn’t come without some downfalls. First and foremost, handheld magnifiers if you select correctly the magnification level can still be convenient in situations such as this.
They can help you read for a shorter period and really provide needed eye strain relief. The downfall is obvious. Your arm needs to be involved, so you will be holding the magnifier up to the screen which if you use your computer with any frequency it’s not going to be the most desirable method to use for no other reason except pure arm fatigue from scrolling and keeping your arm elevated non-stop.
Talk about a work out though!
If it takes a small arm workout and some strain to help battle back against some of the everyday issues individuals with low vision experience, I think that’s an okay trade-off. Don’t let low vision knock down the quality of life is the main takeaway here.
Putting It All Together, Computer Use and Low Vision Can Still Be Accomplished with Ease
This isn’t all the options under the sun that are at your disposable. You have plenty of other good viable options, but for the most part, this gives you a good baseline of some of the things you can use toward your advantage. From the handheld magnifiers to the software built into the computers nowadays, you surely aren’t put into a corner by any means and can choose one to get back to normal.
What’re your thoughts on computer use and low vision? Do you use any tools or magnifiers that we didn’t discuss here today? What do you believe is the best options? Be sure to leave a comment below.