Using Large Print
Perhaps the most comfortable way to transition to reading with vision loss, at least in the beginning, is also the simplest: bigger print. Most major publishing houses today produce bestsellers and other materials in large print formats, which are available at retail book stores. Large print collections are also available at most public libraries.
The standard font size for large print is 18 point, although you might need larger (or smaller) print, depending on your needs and type of vision loss. When advising your employer, senior center, or church, for example, on how to make brochures, newsletters, schedules, menus, programs, and other materials accessible for you, the best size type for these items is generally 18 point, which can be produced by regular printers.
It's also best to use bold black print on a matte (not glossy or shiny) white or cream background and limit the use of graphics. Also, avoid using italics or all capital letters. Generally, lower-case lettering is easier to read.
Use plain, simple, "sans-serif" fonts, such as Arial or APHont (available online through www.aph.org).
Serifs are details on the ends of some strokes that comprise letters and symbols. A typeface with these strokes and details is called "serif." A typeface without these details is called "sans-serif," from the French "sans," meaning "without." In many cases, the use of fonts with serifs can reduce the readability of print for people with low vision. Therefore, sans-serif fonts are the recommended print options.
This is an illustration and comparison of serif and sans-serif fonts:
For more information about making print more readable, see VisionAware's Getting Started Kit: Tips for Making Print More Readable (PDF).
Use Strong Contrast
Strong contrast between the print and background is very important. Light lettering, such as white or light yellow, on a dark background may sometimes be easier to read than black lettering on a white or light-colored background. To enhance print contrast, you can also use a yellow acrylic overlay, or filter. You can read more about overlays and filters in Reading Lamps, Absorptive Lenses, and Filters.
Use a Reading Stand
Using a reading stand is a simple, effective solution that can help you to read material at the best angle and distance. A stand can also help you to keep your reading material in proper focus, which is sometimes hard to do if your hands shake or you tire easily. A reading stand or clipboard can also help to stabilize the reading material and free up your hands.
Have a Low Vision Examination
If you have some remaining vision, it can be helpful to make an appointment with a low vision specialist, either an optometrist or ophthalmologist with additional training in this area, and discuss the ways that low vision optical devices and non-optical devices, such as magnifiers, small telescopes, improved lighting, or electronic video magnifiers, can supplement your reading needs.
For More Information
- Making Text Legible and Effective Color Contrast by Aries Arditi, Ph.D. at the Visibility Metrics website.
- Reader's Digest Select Editions Large Type Books. Call 800-877-5293 or visit the Select Editions website for subscription information.
- Reader's Digest Large Print Edition. Call 800-807-2780 or visit the Large Print Edition website for subscription information.
- Doubleday Large Print Book Club. A membership service that gives you access to Doubleday publications in large print.
- Random House Large Print. A source for books published by Random House in large print.
- The New York Times Large Type Weekly. Call 800-631-2580.
- AFB Press Releases New Edition of Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss
by Priscilla Rogers on 12/7/2015
- Father James Warnke-Living a Well Integrated Life
Father Warnke, who was born with retinitis of prematurity 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.