Reading, Writing, and Vision Loss

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Most of us take our reading and writing abilities for granted until the onset of visual impairment. After all, literacy is a key to personal independence and access to information. If you're losing your vision, one of your greatest concerns may be the possibility that you can no longer read.

Fortunately, there is an ever-expanding list of available techniques and technologies to help you read everything from prescription bottles to your mail to the latest bestseller. Large print books, magnification tools, audio books, apps, braille, and a growing number of products allow you to continue to read your morning paper, your monthly phone bill, and your favorite magazine. Whether it's for pleasure or for practical use, reading is too important for you to compromise or abandon because of vision loss.

While there are many reading tools available to you, it's important to remember that any solution will require you to learn to read in a different way. Listening and reading are not the same and require different sets of skills. Audio books, magnification, and other options can be very effective, but also will take time and patience to learn and manage.

In the end, the best approach to reading may be to try out and "mix and match" a range of techniques, tools, and devices, based on your own comfort level and reading habits. Not every solution is right for everyone, so do what's best for you. The links in this section can give you an idea of the wide variety of reading formats that are available.

Personal Stories

  • Father James Warnke: Living a Well-Integrated Life
    Father Warnke, who was born with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and glaucoma, has had a very successful series of careers as mental health counselor and Episcopal priest, to name just a few of his accomplishments.

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