Using a Computer and Phone with Low Vision

Digital Devices and Low Vision

People with low vision often struggle with computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices. The following article addresses various options to assist these people with such devices. There are a wide range of effective programs, software, vision aids, assistive technologies, and general good practices that can be used to maximize vision.

This article focuses exclusively on people with low vision and the problems they have with digital devices. It should not be confused with the more common condition of visual eye strain (also known as "Computer Vision Syndrome") that many people experience when spending excessive time in front of computers.

This article is not intended as a diagnostic tool or replacement for an optometrist's advice. Always speak with a qualified eye doctor regarding ocular health.

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Using Hardware, Software, Settings, and Devices to Improve Low Vision

There are many visual aids to assist low vision patients with computers and digital devices. These include using optimal hardware settings, assistive technologies, and various aids to improve vision.

Hardware

Hardware options include:

    • Special screens/filters: These include screens for magnification and screens to reduce glare.
    • Keyboards/mouse: Keyboards with large buttons or larger letters/numbers are often helpful for those with visual impairment. Many people also benefit from a mouse trackpad. 
  • Keyboard Commands: Some people with low vision prefer keyboard commands instead of a mouse.

 

Software

There are numerous assistive technology products and special software to aid people with visual impairment:

  • Magnification software
  • Screen reader programs: Various software programs will read your screen to you. 
  • Speech to text software for dictation
  • Visual aid technologies

 

Settings

For those struggling with computer screens and other digital devices, the settings on computers and smartphones can be modified to assist vision difficulties. These include:

  • Options to magnify or enlarge the screen, or parts of the screen. There are also options for enlarging icons.
  • Options for illuminating devices by increasing or decreasing brightness. Additional options allow modifications of color and contrast. 
  • Options to change mouse settings for optimal usage.
  • Using assistive voice technologies such as SIRI embedded within the hardware

 

Devices

  • CCTV: Allows for the magnification of images onto a larger monitor.
  • Magnifying glasses
  • LED lighting to maximize vision
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Digital Vision Aids for Low Vision

People with low vision struggle with computers, smartphones, and other digital devices. Modern technology provides options to assist these people. Speak with a low vision optometrist to find out which options can aid vision when using computers, smartphones, tablets, and other types of electronic technology.

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