|A computer screen magnifier can help you continue to enjoy and use your computer at work and at home. Find out what options are available as features already installed in your operating system and tips from others with macular degeneration.|
Consider that now all computers can be adjusted for:
√ font size
√ background color for contrast
These features alone can make it much easier for you to read e-mails and to write to friends and family members. Computers are one of the most often used forms of low vision technology. From larger monitors to special text to speech software there are many ways to enlarge print, reduce glare and increase contrast so that you can surf away on the internet.
Here is a computer screen magnifier tip from WebRN Macular Degeneration reader, Bill:"The best item I have found for screen magnification is the Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 3000.
The magnifier can be turned
on and off with a push button switch on the left side of the mouse. The
size of the magnifying window and the magnification level are easily
controlled with mouse movements.
This is such a simple effective device and sells for less than fifteen dollars. I think it is low vision's best kept secret.
It is an indispensable tool for me as a constant computer user."
Go to Amazon here to check it out:Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 3000
There are two things you can try with Windows before you purchase a PC screen magnifier:
1) Simply hold the Control key and click the + key. Hitting the - (minus) key will make the page smaller.
2) Magnifier is a display utility for those who have Windows XP that makes the computer screen more readable by people who have low vision by creating a separate window that displays a magnified portion of the screen. This is how to access it:
On the Start menu:
Point to All Programs
Point to Accessories
Point to Accessibility
I found Magnifier easy to access but it takes some practice to use it. You can magnify to the power of 9. As I increased the magnification the font was not as clear and became more difficult to read
But it's free if you have Windows XP and maybe worth a try before buying expensive software.
There are several computer monitor magnifiers available online. Not only will they magnify the computer screen, but they reduce glare as well, making it easier to read.
Be sure to select the computer screen magnifier based on the size of your monitor and style of monitor.
The adjustable magnification increases character size by more than double. Kantek uses a high quality fresnel lens for clarity and for distortion free images. This type of magnifier attaches over your existing monitor.Benefits are:
√ Reduces glare
√ Blocks UV rays
√ Provides anti-reflection
√ Easy to install - usually mounts on the top of the monitor
√ Fits 14-19" monitors.
√ Models for flat screen monitors are available
√ Stand magnifiers are available for laptop computers
√ Magnifies approximately to 2x
√ Inexpensive. Cost is usually $100 or less
The pc screen magnifying software options are:
1) LunarPlus made by Dolphin
2) MAGic made by FreedomScientific
3) ZoomText (previous version called Big Shot) made by Ai Squared
4) SuperNova, which integrates Lunar with the screen reading and Braille output capability of their full-featured screen reader, Hal.
5) JAWS (by FreedomScientific) offers a full-featured screen reader.
The cost range is between $300-$400 and can go as high as $600.
There are several software programs that are really so amazing - from print enlargement programs to talking computer programs.
They will be printed on the outside of the box or
in the description section if you are buying on-line or from a catalog.
These programs allow you to magnify the words from 2x to 36x - which simply means that the words will be two to thirty-six times larger than regular print.
At this size most people with macular degeneration can read anything on their computer. The two most recommended software are ZoomText 1 by AiSquared and MAGic by Henter-Joyce.
Not only can you select your font size with this computer low vision aid, you can also choose to use the color enhancer or a highlighting feature.
Read more about Zoomtext here:
One computer low vision aid that makes a big difference is your computer monitor. With print enlargement programs the bigger the monitor the better. A 17 inch monitor is increasingly becoming a standard size but not adequate for someone with AMD.The increased size of the screen provides a larger viewable area which is especially important if your are using a print or screen magnifcation software.
Monitor sizes that are available range in size from 17" to 24". Of course the larger the size the more expensive the monitor will be.
Monitors use different types of technology including Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Cathode Ray Tube (CRT).
LCD monitors have less flicker compared with conventional monitors. This can be valuable for people with macular degeneration if they find flicker on a conventional monitor unacceptable. LCD screens are more expensive than conventional monitors. Flat screens usually give a larger viewing area and have less glare than curved screens.
This ViewSonic monitor from Amazon boasts a mat finish so it has minimal glare. It displays images and text that are very crisp and sharp with great contrast. Users boast of the clarity and brightness and vibrancy of the colors.
This keyboard uses LED backlights offering 5 backlight colors including Red, Pink, Blue, Cyan, and Chartreuse.
With easy to see, extra large bold letters you can type faster and more accurately. The keys are standard size - just the letters are larger than a normal keyboard making it easier on your eyes.
The brightness can be adjusted using a brightness wheel.
Many people are now replacing their desk top computers for a laptop. I have, and I enjoy the flexibility of taking it to different parts of the house or on my travels.
However, depending on the size of your desktop computer you may be trading portability for a smaller size screen. If you have trouble seeing the smaller monitor screen try a laptop screen magnifier. This screen magnifier can optimize your ability to see with less strain and with less glare.These magnifiers will help you continue to enjoy today's technology without the frustration of trying to see a smaller screen.
Typical desktop computer monitor sizes are 15", 17", 19" and 21". The most common laptop screen sizes range from 15" - 17." Remember the viewing area or screen size is measured diagonally across the screen.
Amazon offers a laptop screen magnifier that has a 3X magnifying power. This means it enlarges the text on the screen by 3 times. In addition the screen has an anti-reflective coating that helps to reduce glare.
This alone may make the screen a worthwhile investment, since one of the vision changes for those with macular degeneration is an increased sensitivity to glare. Computer eye strain has become a common eye condition - even for those with healthy eyes. By enlarging the text and reducing the glare you can minimize eye fatigue.
This laptop magnifier comes in 3 sizes - 12", 14" and 15". So be sure to buy the right size for your laptop.
The folding magnifying screen is made of a lightweight, durable acrylic. It simply hangs on top of the monitor and provides a sharp and clear image and filters harmful UV rays.3x Laptop Screen Magnifier- 14-inch
Another option is to connect your laptop to a large computer monitor screen.
Here is a tip from a WebRN Macular Degeneration reader named Neil:
"Many prefer the convenience of a laptop but find that the screen real estate is too small especially for those with compromised vision.
Here is a cheap way around it. Any laptop can be connected to a large computer montior screen with a USB to DVI or HDMI adapter which costs only $60 to $100 depending on its specifications.
Even an old CRT monitor can be used with the cheaper ones. It works with a Mac or PC and is a no brainer to connect ... just plug and play."