When Reading Becomes a Strain

When Reading Becomes a Strain

Posted under Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

Thanks to many different electronic readers, like the Kindle readers, Apple’s iPad and low vision CCTVs, reading is possible for many people with low vision including those with macular degeneration.   The ability to enlarge fonts, adjust contrast, increase brightness and change color combinations makes reading possible for many people who had previously given up on this favorite past time.

However, for some people – even though they can read on such helpful devices – their eyes become strained in a short amount of time or reading with enlarged fonts has become  just too slow for them.  Such was the situation for my 87 year old father-in-law.   A whole new way to enjoy books opened up for him when we introduced the free Talking Books program to him this winter.

First I called the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)  and got the phone number to the participating library where he lives in Wisconsin.  I called the Wisconsin library and asked for the forms to be mailed to me so that I could fill them out, which they were happy to do.  Once the forms were returned, the digital player was mailed out with a couple of audio books for him to start listening to. Now he never fails to tell me how much he enjoys listening to his latest “read.”  The large selection of different genres means he will never run out of a selection. One can order audio books by checking off the desired titles on a hard copy list. However, the long list is difficult for him to navigate so he simply calls up the local library that services  the program and they assist him in finding books he would enjoy, they place the order and then send the audio books out.

When he is done listening to his books he places them in a pre-paid envelope and simply puts the mailer in his mail box.  There is no need to go the post office which makes the whole process very easy.

The digital book player is easy to operate.  Large buttons with lots of contrast makes them easy to see.  Rewind or fast forward are two of the operating buttons.   Another button allows the digital player to play for a set amount of time – such as 15”, 30” or 45”.  My father-in-law likes this option because he sometimes falls asleep while listening and the player will automatically stop.

Find out who is eligible for the Talking Books Program and how to contact the National Library Service for the Blind by going to:

Talking Books Program


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN