How to read with glaucoma with text to speech

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Accessibility on June 27, 2022
Learn about some common glaucoma treatment options and discover tools that can help visually impaired people read more conveniently.

    Glaucoma can significantly impact your visual accessibility. It makes everyday tasks such as reading or watching TV much harder. Because it narrows your field of vision, glaucoma also increases the risk of traffic accidents or similar mishaps.

    In this article, you’ll learn about some common glaucoma treatment options that an eye doctor with expertise in ophthalmology can provide. You’ll also discover tools that can help visually impaired people read more conveniently.

    What is glaucoma?

    Glaucoma encompasses a group of eye disorders that damage the optic nerve. Most commonly, it results from fluid building up in your eye’s drainage angle. Because of the increased pressure in your eye, the optical nerve gets damaged. Little by little, nerve fibers start dying, creating blind spots.

    Unlike macular degeneration, glaucoma primarily affects peripheral vision. With time, low vision worsens, and glaucoma can result in total vision loss if left untreated.

    Some groups are at a higher risk of glaucoma, including:

    • People over 40
    • Diabetics
    • Steroid medication users
    • People who are Hispanic, African American or Asian
    • People with high blood pressure or migraines

    There are two types of glaucoma:

    • Open-angle glaucoma – Causes peripheral blind spots and tunnel vision, often doesn’t show symptoms until later stages.
    • Angle-closure glaucoma – Happens in bursts and causes symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, severe eye pain and redness.

    Regardless of the type, glaucoma can lower your quality of life and require the use of vision aids. Let’s see what you can do to mitigate these risks.

    What are glaucoma treatments?

    Once nerve fibers die, they can’t regenerate. This means you can’t reverse damage from serious glaucoma complications. Regular check-ups and proper management methods can stop glaucoma from causing severe impairment. These include:

    • Eye drops (beta-blockers, prostaglandins, alpha-adrenergic agonists, etc.)
    • Oral medications (carbonic anhydrase inhibitors)
    • Surgery or therapy (laser therapy, drainage tubes, filtering surgery, etc.)

    The majority of treatment methods involve reducing the pressure in your eye. To find the most suitable treatment option, you should consult an ophthalmologist so they can zoom in on your medical chart, rule out other eye diseases and define the right course of action.

    Can you read with glaucoma?

    As mentioned, glaucoma mainly impacts peripheral vision. You’d think reading wouldn’t be an issue with central vision intact. Yet this isn’t true.

    A narrow visual field means you can switch between lines as comfortably as those with regular sight. Skimming text and searching for specific information is much harder for those with glaucoma.

    Plus, patients often describe glaucoma symptoms as “looking through fog.” This fog extends to the central vision, meaning people with this condition strain their eyes more while reading. As a result, people affected by glaucoma are more prone to eye fatigue and might have issues focusing on the text in front of them.

    The good news is that there are various technologies that help people with glaucoma read and consume other visual content more easily:

    • OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
    • CCTVs/Video magnifiers
    • Electronic magnifiers
    • High-contrast screens
    • Text to speech software

    In addition, those with severe glaucoma can use large print/braille keyboards to interact with electronic devices.

    Text to speech deserves special attention as the best alternative to reading among the many available options. Let’s see how it can help.

    A new way to read – Text to speech software

    Text to speech (TTS) readers are extremely helpful to those with different eye conditions. They turn text into voiceovers or audio files, making it more accessible to visually impaired people.

    Plus, TTS lets you listen to content on the go, which is great if you live an active or busy life. You can multitask more efficiently and increase your workplace productivity. The high portability of TTS means you can take a text to speech reader with you virtually anywhere, ensuring you have access to spoken content throughout the day.

    TTS is handy for students, regardless of their vision. It makes learning more effective by allowing students to listen to their materials and notes without eye fatigue. The results are more productive study sessions and easier information retention, as you can listen to your text multiple times. If you are spacing out study sessions, TTS can be at the ready when you need it next.

     You’ll reduce eye strain and have a more immersive experience by listening to your study materials.

    Finally, if you’re practicing a foreign language, turning text into audio is an excellent way to practice spelling and pronunciation simultaneously.

    Of course, not all TTS platforms let you reap all the above benefits. If you’re unsure which tool to use, you can check out Speechify.


    Speechify is a text to speech platform that turns any digital or printed text into high-quality audio. If you’re looking for glaucoma assistive technology, it’s an excellent option. The same goes for people suffering from learning disabilities such as ADHD or dyslexia.

    The program is available on most major platforms and devices. It offers dedicated iOS, Android and Mac apps. Combine this with the Safari extension and you can use Speechify on all Apple devices. If you’re more of a Microsoft Windows fan, the Google Chrome extension lets you use Speechify on all desktop and laptop devices supporting the browser.

    This isn’t the only way Speechify offers versatility. It comes with more than 30 natural-sounding voices and over 20 different languages. It also lets you adjust reading speed and increase it up to 5x, allowing you to speed through content more quickly.

    If you want to see how all these features work in action, you can subscribe to a free trial of Speechify.


    How do I make my iPhone more friendly for users who are blind?

    You can make your iPhone or iPad more friendly for users who are blind by using speech to text functions such as Siri and Dictation. Pair it with Speechify, and you’ll minimize the need for visual interaction.

    Does magnification help glaucoma?

    Magnification helps those affected by glaucoma see visual content more clearly without eye strain.

    Is there an app that reads to the blind?

    Besides Speechify, KNFB Reader is a great screen reader for blind people and those with learning disabilities.

    What are the best apps for people who are blind?

    Popular apps supporting people who are blind include Be My Eyes, TapTapSee and Seeing AI.

    What is the best way to read with glaucoma?

    It’s best to increase the text size and use spotlighting to see the text more clearly.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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