by Joyce Render Cohen and Evelyn Render Katz, OTR/L
- Task lamps. Use high-wattage or high-intensity bulbs and aim light directly on the page you want to see.
- Magnifying devices. Consult an occupational therapist (OT) to help you match devices to tasks. You may be surprised at the many shapes and sizes of magnifiers available. A prescription from your physician for an OT visit may make it easier to get insurance coverage.
- Make the print on your computer really big. Web sites and search engines have functions to increase letter size. For instance, you can increase the print on this page by increasing the "A" next to "text size" under the title bar. Look for a set of small, medium and larger boxes or a plus (+) and minus (-) sign on the page. Better still, select PDF documents whenever possible. Click the magnifying glass icon to make everything, including the illustrations, as large as you want.(You will need Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded free.)
- Consider listening instead of reading. The Internet offers thousands of audio files on every topic imaginable. Audio books are a popular download. Many audio books are released at the same time the print edition is published. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress provides many services to people with visual or physical disabilities, who may borrow audio books, magazines and equipment free.
- Explore text-to-speech software. Technology seems to advance almost weekly. There are now devices and software programs, many available online for free, that offer text-to-speech conversion. Start by searching under "text-to-speech downloads."
Joyce Render Cohen has been living with low vision for more than 20 years. She and her co-author and sister, Evelyn Render Katz, OTR/L, often give talks on meeting the challenges of vision loss.