Tips on reading and writing with glaucoma
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of sight loss in the UK. It is a group of eye conditions characterised by increased pressure within the eye, which causes vision loss by damaging the optic nerve. As vision deteriorates, these everyday activities can become more challenging and daunting. Even daily tasks like reading and writing become difficult. However, with the right strategies and adaptations, individuals with glaucoma can continue to enjoy the pleasures of reading and writing. This article explores tips and tools for maintaining a fulfilling reading and writing experience while living with glaucoma.
Understanding Glaucoma: A Brief Overview
Before delving into strategies, it's important to understand the nature of glaucoma. This condition affects the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. As glaucoma progresses, peripheral vision gradually deteriorates, potentially leading to tunnel vision or even blindness if left untreated.
For those living with glaucoma, it’s essential to monitor your condition regularly. It’s clinically advised that patients should be monitored at least once every 12 months by a consultant ophthalmologist to review the condition and provide treatment advice. Through regular monitoring, patients increase the chance of retaining their sight.
Reading and writing with Glaucoma
Reading and writing are an essential part of everyday life that we do everyday, when your eyesight begins to deteriorate, reading and writing are two skills that many people have difficulty with because they rely on it so much. But with help from aids and technology, you can continue to independently read and write.
Reading with Glaucoma
Utilise Large Print Material
Large print books, magazines, and newspapers can make reading more accessible. Many libraries offer a collection of large print materials, and e-readers often allow users to adjust font size for digital books.
Audiobooks are a fantastic alternative to traditional reading and are becoming more and more popular. They enable individuals with glaucoma to enjoy a wide range of literature through spoken words. Audible and other audiobook services offer extensive libraries of titles.
Modern technology has made reading more accessible. Screen readers and text-to-speech software can read aloud digital text, including websites, documents, and emails. Popular options include JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver (for Apple devices).
The right lighting can make a real difference to reading. Having specific lamps to hand can help people with glaucoma to see more clearly. We find that gooseneck floor lamps, swing arm desk lamps and magnifying desk lamps are recommended for their brightness, easy adjustability and lightweight design.
Using reading aids can really help those with glaucoma to enlarge text and focus better. Reading aids such as hand held magnifiers, screen magnifiers, spectacle magnifiers or reading stands can help reduce eye strain.
Writing with Glaucoma
Writing can be a more straightforward task with speech-to-text software. Tools like VoiceTyper and Google's Voice Typing allow users to dictate text, emails, or documents, which the software then transcribes.
Voice Notes and Dictation Apps
Smartphone apps, such as Apple's Voice Memos or Google's Keep Notes, can be used for recording thoughts, ideas, or reminders through voice notes or dictation.
Braille and Tactile Tools
For those familiar with braille or interested in learning, there are braille embossers and displays available. These can be used for writing and reading braille texts.
In conclusion, living with glaucoma doesn't mean giving up the joys of reading and writing. By embracing adaptive technologies, making ergonomic adjustments, and seeking support when needed, individuals with glaucoma can continue to enjoy literature, express themselves through writing, and maintain a fulfilling and engaged life. It's essential to adapt and explore new tools and strategies to ensure that these activities remain accessible and enjoyable.
OcuPlan partner with over 100 consultant ophthalmologists and 500 optician stores all over the UK to provide the gold standard of care. From only £19.99 per month you can see a consultant ophthalmologist regularly without delay to review your condition. To learn more click here