Thankfully, there are tools available that make things easier for the visually impaired. The tools one uses to process and write e-mails, help in viewing the screen of one’s PC, or a person can use the tools for dealing with daily activities like reading. What’s more, there are now software programs capable of making print larger for easier viewing and text to speech programs that convert text to vocalized words.
The innovations make life a lot easier for the person who suffers from low vision problems, and it makes it possible for such individuals to use computers, make spreadsheets, see pages on the Web, and make use of word processing programs.
When you are viewing web pages online, many Internet browsers allow the user to make a web page larger and to increase the font size for easier reading. Here is how you can enlarge web pages and images for easier viewing:
When using Internet browsers like Safari (Apple), Firefox (Mozilla) or Explorer (Microsoft), by holding down the Ctrl (Control) key on your keyboard and then clicking on the “+” key, you can zoom in on images and words. Alternatively, to zoom out, you can hold down the Ctrl key and then click on the “-” key on your keyboard.
An alternative means for zooming in and out on a web page being viewed via an Internet browser is to hold down the Command or Ctrl key and using the mouse wheel to decrease or increase the viewable page size.
Yet another alternative you have for making the text bigger on the screen you are viewing is to make use of the Make Text Larger of Text Size commands under the View command accessed via the menu bar of your browser. This feature is available in Outlook and Microsoft Word.
When using software offering large print features, you can get bigger mouse pointers, icons, texts, fonts, and computer navigation tools, all of which are larger for ease of visibility.
If you are working with a home computer, the monitors are available in different sizes and you can benefit from a big LCD display if you are experiencing low vision issues. The recommended screen size for someone with low vision is 20 inches or more, measured from corner to corner, diagonally. Alternatively, you may decide it is better to use a device that magnifies the screen for you for easier visibility.
Text to Speech Solutions
Sometimes eye conditions make reading extremely difficult. This fact is true in individuals that suffer from glaucoma of macular degeneration, and even for those who have tunnel vision. It can prove difficult for some people to read text appearing on the screen when using a PC. This is why there is text to speech solutions available.
A computer uses an optical character recognition (OCR) system that will scan the words on the computer screen and convert them into a synthesized voice. You can then hear the voice read the words that appear on the screen before you. Several major companies make voice recognition and text to speech programs.
Dealing with the Computer Mouse
If you have low vision, you may like using your keyboard over your mouse to control the computer. This is particularly true if you have trouble spotting the mouse pointer on the screen and the keyboard is easier to work with instead.
If you are going to work with a mouse, it is best you get one with an ergonomic design that lens ease of use and comfort. The wheel in the middle of the mouse lets you scroll up or down a page quickly. You might like a wireless mouse that is battery operated too, as this does not place a limit on your motion.
If when using a mouse you find that it moves to quickly or too slowly, you can adjust the speed of the mouse by going into your computer settings. If you have a Window operating system, you can enter the control panel of your PC, and change the mouse configurations for pointer speed.
Enhancing Contrast – Minimize Flicker
When you see flickering when viewing your computer screen, this issue can be eradicated when you adjust the refresh rate of the screen. The refresh rate is how frequently the monitor redraws what you are viewing on the screen. This feature, in a computer with a Windows operating system, is accessible via the control panel through the advanced settings of the display. You will want to set the computer’s refresh rate at 70 Hertz (Hz) or greater.
Alternatively, if you invest in a liquid crystal display monitor, you can do away with flicker issues altogether. These monitors do not have refresh rates, as a monitor featuring a cathode ray tube inside requires. What’s more, LCD screens are associated with fewer incidents of eyestrain. To make the screen the easiest to view for a person who has low vision issues, the contrast ratio of the display should be adjusted. You can speak to the sales people who sell you the monitor on how to make the screen adjustments.