Saturday, March 24, 2012

How to study with low vision

I have returned to uni this year to study my masters, and I have been having trouble getting back into the rhythm of it all. I study via correspondence, so I do not have to attend lectures, and have all my notes online. I find it hard to read substantial amounts on the computer as I get eye strain and the glare hurts my eyes, plus I have a highlighter addiction and I like to do that on paper (obviously). I have been printing out my notes, but struggle to read them as I have to put them up close to my face and concentrate extra hard, so in turn I lose interest quickly.

I have a hand held magnifier to read paper documents, but I find it quite hard to use, as you have to move it along the line you are reading then when you get the the end to go to the next line, I get confused and re read the same line. It slows down the process of reading and gets quite frustrating. Not to mention if I want to highlight I have to move the magnifier out of the way and then find it in the smaller font. All in all, I don't find the hand held magnifier productive for studying.

So where does that leave me? I've contemplated printing off the documents in larger fonts, although they are quite substantial in length already and I'd use hundreds of pages of paper.

The issue is causing me to avoid studying because it frustrates me and I end up with migraines and eye strain.

Any suggestions?


  1. I've also the same trouble. I want to do my PhD in literature but I've almost abandoned hope because literature means reading 300 pages a day. I get tired with 30. I really liked the concept of Achieve tablet. Can you check if it is available for you in Australia. Intel GE Care innovations site lists it only for UK an US.

    It will not give you eye strain and you can alternate between listening and reading. I am in India.

    And don't get demotivated. I know it is tough. We end up thinking about the time when we could see better, read better. Best would be to not judge yourself, try to accept your current pace and Good luck! Remember not everyone in our position attempts to even open a book :-)

    1. Hello Bhumika,
      I am from India too. This is probably the first time I am interacting with a fellow Indian with a similar condition. I had not even heard about this condition when I was diagnosed.Luckily i came across this blog and learnt that i am not alone.

      Good luck Bhumika.

  2. I was diagnosed with Stargardt's a few months ago, and computer eye strain and headaches have been a huge thing for me. This may sound crazy, but I've started wearing sunglasses to do things on the computer. It doesn't hinder my ability to read things on the screen, and it cuts out all the glare and keeps me from getting headaches. I haven't tried magnifiers for reading books yet. I have a feeling it's going to be a pretty frustrating experience.

    Good luck with your studies!

  3. Bhumika don't give up either! There is a solution, we just have to find it! I'm going to have a look at a CCTV and see if that is any more helpful/ I have an ipad now but that still gives me terrible eye strain (probably because I am constantly on it reading!!)

    Kendal I've just started wearing my sunglasses indoors! I think peiople think I'm mad! But it helps so much especially with the fluroescent lights. I'll have to see how it goes at work though because in a hospital I might look a bit suspicious! Thanks!

  4. C.R, the magnifier I bought Tony (the link is in the other post,it's called the i-loview) has an adapter where he can plug it into the T.V. or computer monitor. We haven't tried that yet, but I am assuming you will be able to read what you see on the magnifier, but it will be on your T.V screen instead. Hopefully that will prevent you from having to reread a line. I guess the highlighting will be unavailable that way. But I bet you have a good memory. Tony has a good memory on account of his eyesight.---Janet

  5. Wearing sunglasses indoors has taken some getting used to. I keep telling my husband I feel like I'm in the witness protection program. Or I'm a really obvious spy.

  6. I have RP and find the Apple products are extremely useful in magnifying the screen. From my iPhone to my Mac Book Pro. Universal Access allows you to either magnify the screen or get certain elements read to you. It can still be frustrating at times, but a lot easier than traditional PC magnification applications.

  7. I'm in a very similar situation. Handheld magnifiers from my experience leave not only my eyes tired but my arms and neck as well from constantly moving around. . After doing some searching on Amazon I ordered a headband-like magnifier that you wear like glasses. They had page size magniiers too but after reading the reviews this one seemed best. . I havent received it yet but I'll let you know if it's any
    good. - Patrick

  8. Hello CR,
    Recently i was diagnosed with macular degeneration and since then i have been following your blog. Its nice to know that i am not alone. I too am a student. I get frustrated most of the times because I am not able to see what is being written on the boards.. As for reading the books my doctor has asked me to use Fresnel sheets it is working for me but as you mentioned i have to move it along the line.

  9. Try to get the SONY E-Reader, large screen/daily edition (17 inch screen). It is like the original amazon kindle, and has the same low glare e-ink technology..

    The SONY ereader is able to read PDF documents, we had some text books converted to PDF by our school's accessibility department and then put them on the reader. It made things MUCH easier. It sells for around $300 in america..

    For leisure reading the kindle is wonderful. Both of these devices allow you to make the font larger, but also since they are tablets with the e-ink technology there is no 'backlit' screen.. and thus there is less eye strain.

    hope this helps you..