ARE YOU AN AVID READER?
When I see patients, one of their number one goals is to see better to read again, especially if my patients were avid readers before experiencing their vision loss. Avid readers are often the ones who have the most amount of difficulty trying to read with traditional magnifiers. One of the reasons is that usually, the magnification they need will only allow them to read 2-3 words at a time. It should be noted that traditional handheld magnifiers were designed for quick spottings, like looking at labels, medication bottles, instructions on a package, or the mail that comes in.
Traditional handheld magnifiers were not designed for long periods of reading.
For avid readers, they often were fast readers so to only see 2-3 words at a time, makes them feel like they are back in grade school learning to read. Reading becomes a chore and is not enjoyable.
What I have found has been revolutionary for people living with vision loss who have not been able to read comfortably the newspaper or books are the newer larger portable digital magnifiers. They have the advantage of allowing you to increase the magnification and change the contrast. This especially is useful when reading the newspaper which is the worst quality of the print; the words in a newspaper are different shades of dark grey on a washed-out background. For example, newspaper print is one of the worst quality prints.
With a digital magnifier, you can change the text to enhance the contrast by changing how the original words appear on the document by hitting the contrast button on the digital device. For example, the words you are reading can be:
Dark black on white background
White letters on a black background
Dark black letters on a yellow background
Yellow letters on a black background
and other options.
Do YOU find one of the above texts appears easier to read than another?
This just cannot be achieved with a traditional magnifier.
With more than 25 + years of have found that 7 out of 10 patients prefer to read the text showing white letters on black background.
The newer larger digital magnifiers are often 10 inch screens or larger and weigh under 2.5 lbs compared to their predecessors, the large CCTVs which are often 40 lbs and can not be moved from place to place. Some people also like the portability of the smaller screen devices which also offer multiple magnifications and contrast modes so they can carry it with them when they go shopping or to a restaurant.
In January 2022, our office welcomed the newest digital portable magnifier, the Ruby 10 HD speech. This device not only magnifies and changes contrast as mentioned earlier, but it also can read text to speech in up to 20 languages (including English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, and many more. It also has a separate camera arm that can swing away from the unit so it can capture and read an entire 8.5X11-inch sheet of paper. It allows you to place a pen underneath so you can easily write or do a crossword puzzle.
View the following video where Dr. Juricic compares some common portable digital magnifiers and their useful features.