Thanks to modern technology, people with vision loss can do numerous things such as write documents, browse the internet and send and receive emails. Screen Reading software and special talking and Braille devices allow those of us with no vision to use computers, cell phones and other electronic devices independently. Similarly, people with low vision can use screen magnification software and devices that will allow them to see letters, pictures and other objects without having to struggle or strain their remaining vision. This technology – commonly known as assistive or adaptive technology – is continually evolving, and has removed many access barriers for people with vision loss.
Besides allowing us to carry out routine tasks at work and school, assistive technology also enables people with visual impairments to be more independent at home. We can now read the mail, listen to audio books, get step-by-step walking directions to unfamiliar places, record important information and so much more with special standalone devices designed for people with no or low vision. There are also devices like talking watches, thermometers, scales, blood glucose and blood pressure monitors that help us live independent and healthy lives.
People with low vision can also benefit from devices that magnify or enlarge objects. This equipment can help them take notes, read small print on electronic devices and watch TV. In other words, simple tasks that might have previously required the assistance of a sighted person can easily be done completely independently by people with some or no vision.
Cell phones and tablets have revolutionized the way people who are blind or visually impaired interact and use technology. Screen reading and magnifying software – like that used in computers – allows us to use these devices independently. However, the unique aspect about cell phones and tablets is that they can serve many of the purposes for which standalone devices and software were previously developed thanks to apps.