Ways to Continue Reading

Most people do not employ just one reading method when dealing with vision loss. The method you choose often depends on what you want to read and where you want to read it. If reading existing printed material, such as mail or books in your personal library, is your goal, and optical low-vision aids (e.g., illuminated magnifiers) don't work, assistive technology can make reading possible again. Video magnifiers (sometimes called CCTVs) magnify print electronically. They range in size from handheld units about the size of a pack of 4 x 6 inch index cards, to desktop models with 22-inch flat-panel monitors. A camera captures the image and simple controls allow you to increase the size of the letters on the monitor as well as change the background and foreground colors to make reading easier.

Optical character recognition (OCR) technology converts the printed word into spoken text in a variety of devices. Some OCR software works with a flat-bed scanner and your computer. Other devices employ a digital camera in a stand-alone unit, for those who do not use a computer or want to read when they are away from their PC. This type of reading technology is even available in a cell phone, such as the KNFB Reader Mobile, so you can read anywhere. In addition to synthesized speech output, some OCR technology can display an enlarged view of the reading material for those who want dual input—hearing and seeing. Check AFB's product reviews section for more information about OCR technology.

Many specialized services and websites offer custom large-print publishing; religious writings in a variety of formats; newspapers by phone, e-mail, or Internet; package information and instruction manuals on the Web; and much, much more. To inquire about specialized resources for reading materials, please e-mail your question to Senior Site.

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