Using a Smartphone for Low Vision

Dr. Russel Lazarus, January 5, 2021
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There are no limits to what you can do with a smartphone nowadays, even if you have low vision. 

Smartphones, with their advanced technology and never ending possibilities have changed the way we connect with family and friends, manage our businesses, and enjoy the world of entertainment.

Thankfully, with the advancement in technology and the endless opportunities that smartphones can provide, even patients with low vision can use smartphones, regardless of the extent of their vision loss.

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How can smartphones be adapted for people with low vision?

Smartphone accessibility features 

Accessibility features are built-in software that modify specific features on your phone, based on your individual needs. These features are especially helpful for people who have a vision or hearing impairment.

VoiceOver/TalkBack

“VoiceOver” or “TalkBack” features read everything aloud, from text messages to icon names and menu details on your phone.

Voice assistants 

Voice assistants, like the well known Siri, can help you to access anything on your phone, as well as allow you to search the internet without ever looking at your phone.

Text-to-speech/ Read aloud technology

The text-to-speech feature is activated by your voice and can be used to read digital text out loud.

Solid backgrounds

Use solid colored backgrounds to improve color contrast and allow you to locate the icons on your phone more easily.

Font size and screen brightness

Adjust the font size and brightness of your screen to improve vision clarity.

Low vision aids

A variety of low vision devices can improve your near vision for smartphone use, as well as other near vision activities.

Some of the most popular low vision devices that may be helpful while using your smartphone include:

  • Hand-held magnifiers
  • Digital magnifiers or close circuit television (CCT)
  • Bioptic telescopic glasses
  • Low vision magnifying reading glasses
  • Prismatic reading glasses
  • Telemicroscope glasses
  • Reverse telescopic glasses
  • Custom-made optical systems

While low vision can significantly impact quality of life, there are a wide variety of devices that can help you to navigate through life with a greater sense of ease and independence.

Your smartphone is just one device that can be used to your benefit.

If you have yet to explore the world of low vision aids, speak with your eye doctor or low vision specialist to find out which low vision aids can be most helpful to you. 

A low vision aid will not only help you to gain increased independence for many daily activities, but can also enhance your screen time— allowing you to communicate with others, enjoy from the world of entertainment, and even manage your bank accounts and businesses.

Low vision affects millions of people worldwide. Take advantage of technology to maximize your vision.