Reading Aids: Devices, Tricks, and Accessories to Make Reading More Enjoyable

Posted by Alicia Baucom on May 10th 2020

Reading can be an enjoyable pastime transporting you from the possible mundane to a world full of excitement and intrigue. For some, what was once an enjoyable hobby has become difficult with age and vision loss. This blog will look at just a few of the options currently available to help bring the adventure of reading back to your life.

Low Vision Reading Aids

Many low vision devices can make reading easier and more rewarding for people with macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, tunnel vision and other low vision conditions. All About Vision provides the following snippets for some of these type aids. Magnifiers: Hand-held magnifiers are among the most affordable low vision devices for reading, and some are illuminated to make print even more visible. Other magnifiers that are mounted on height-adjustable stands or supported by a band that hangs from your neck also are available. (To see what products ILA carries in this category please see magnifiers) Reading Glasses: Special high-power reading glasses can help a person with low vision read small print. These are available in single vision designs or as bifocals. Though these stronger-than-normal reading glasses take some getting used to. A low vision specialist can demonstrate the best way to use them. (To see what products ILA carries in this category please see reading glasses) Reading Telescopes: These low vision devices often are mounted on the lenses of eyeglasses and provide high magnification while allowing the wearer to view reading material from a normal distance. Again, some training is needed to use these devices properly, but reading telescopes often are very helpful. Hand-held versions also are available. This clip-on monocular is an example of this type product. Video Magnifiers: These desktop devices include a camera lens that displays highly magnified images on a video monitor or computer screen. You can sit as close to the screen as necessary and adjust the magnification, brightness, contrast and color of the display to your liking. (To see what products ILA carries in this category please see video magnifiers) Portable Electronic Magnifiers: Also available are portable electronic devices that resemble an iPad or other lightweight tablet computer. You can hold this device in front of reading material and a magnified view appears on the LED screen. (To see what products ILA carries in this category please see electronic magnification)

Tips and Tricks for Computer Screens

Most computer operating systems and Internet browsers allow you to increase the size of web pages and text on your computer screen to make them more visible to partially sighted users. All About Vision provides an in-depth article on some of these options. Here are a few highlights from the article. Enlarging What is on the Screen: In most browsers on a PC you can enlarge a web page on your screen by holding down the Control ("Ctrl") key on your keyboard and tapping the "+" key. (If you use a Mac, hold down the "Command" key while tapping the "+" key.) Decreasing What is on the Screen: To zoom out, tap the "-" key while holding down the Control key (or Command key). Returning to the Actual Screen Size: To return the view to actual size, tap the "0" (zero) key while holding down the Control or Command key. Zoom Command: Some devices, browsers and applications also offer the ability to enlarge text and images with a "Zoom" command in the View menu at the top of the browser window. Screen Reader Programs: Some screen reader options include: MAGic LVS; Serotek System Access To Go; SuperNova Screen Reader; and ZoomText Magnifier/Reader. These are stand alone software program that are available for purchase.  They are not incorporated into a computer’s operating system.  The only screen reader/magnifier that ILA carries is iZoom. Built-in Screen Readers: Another option is a simple built-in screen reader called Narrator that is included with Microsoft applications. If you use Google's operating system, it includes a screen reader called ChromeVox. If you are a Mac user, Apple includes a screen reader called VoiceOver.

Reading Accessories

Reading accessories can include anything from eyeglasses holders, neck pillows, book holders, clip-on lights, and so much more. For a complete listing of everything reading related that ILA carries please see reading or reading accessories. A few of these accessories currently on sale include the following: Book Stand with 2X Magnifier: This combination bookstand with a 2X magnifier is composed of durable lightweight plastic. The 2X magnifier enlarges the text, while that text is supported at an angle that is best for your viewing position. The magnifier rests on a flexible arm that stays exactly where you place it. Good ergonomics make your reading more comfortable Easy Reader Stand: Lightweight, folding reading stand has 10 adjustable reading positions. When closed and flat, use the clip to use like a clip board. When open and upright, it can support tablets, e-readers, heavy books, or single sheets of paper. Helps reduce neck tension and eye strain. Platform measures 14" x 9". Available in gray or white. Tapestry Eyeglass Holder: Great for keeping your glasses from being misplaced, this eyeglass holder stands firmly on any table. The soft, plush lining holds your eyeglasses securely and protects them from getting scratched. Dimensions inside: 2.2 inches across, 0.8 inches deep. To see what’s currently on sale at ILA please sign up for our newsletter, view our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website.