Computer Aids for Low Vision

Computer Aids for Low Vision

Posted on Apr.03, 2014, under Educational, Eye Conditions, Eye Health, Innovations for Visually Impaired, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info, Low Vision Tips, The Eye

How often and how much do you rely on your computer?    Do you use it to check your email, get the weather, shop for a present, or find the latest baseball score?   Living without the convenience of a computer can be a big disadvantage.  For those with low vision, navigating and seeing what is on the screen can be a challenge as can typing and using the keyboard.  However, there are many low vision computer aids and software that can enhance your ability to see what is on the screen, allow your voice to give computer commands, or read out loud any text.


Computer Screen Magnification

You can magnifying your computer screen in three different ways. Computers now have magnification software built right into their computer.  How it is done depends on your operating software and whether you have a Mac or PC.   You can also purchase an actual monitor magnifier that is placed over your computer screen.  They come in different sizes depending on the size of your monitor.  For those with more severe vision loss who need more magnification, it is best to buy magnifying screen software.  Software such as ZoomText has the ability to magnify up to to 36X.   The larger the monitor the better it is for those with more severe vision loss.


Text to Speech Software

When you get tired of trying to read your computer screen and find that even with more magnification your eyes are strained, switch to a text to speech software. This type of software can read to you the weather, your e-mails, the news, or documents.  Many computers now have an accessibility setting that provides a text to speech feature for free. You may want to try it first to see how it works for you, however the speech quality is not as good as purchased software.   There are several software programs to choose from – they include JAWS, Super Nova, and Dragon Naturally.


Speech to Text Software

Perhaps your low vision is making it difficult to type and to navigate the computer.   With a speech to text software you can “write” emails or papers by talking or give the computer voice commands to search the web. Whether you want to look for a new recipe, get the latest news, or research a topic, speech to text software such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking can do it for you.


Large Number Keyboards

Did you know that there are special keyboards for those with low vision?  These keyboards use larger letters/numbers with better contrast for better visibility.  The color combinations available include white letters on black keys, black letters on white keys, or yellow characters on black.


For more tips on low vision technology visit:

Low Vision Technology


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN