Glaucoma patients have difficulty reading, which is why they would benefit from a text to speech tool like Speechify.
People who suffer from eye health issues often have a significantly reduced reading ability. One of many eye diseases that can result in low vision or even complete vision loss is glaucoma. Patients with glaucoma have difficulty reading, and some can’t read at all. This is where accessibility tools like text to speech technology can be extremely helpful.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects a person’s visual field because it damages the eye’s optic nerve. This condition occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye, which increases eye pressure.
There are two types of glaucoma – open-angle and close-angle (or narrow-angle) glaucoma. The first one is more common, and it happens gradually. The second type is more dangerous because it’s sudden and more painful.
Glaucoma is commonly known as “the silent thief of sight” because there are no symptoms in its early stages. In fact, half the people with glaucoma don’t even know they have it. When the disease starts to develop, patients will notice blind spots in their peripheral vision.
According to Glaucoma Research Foundation, more than 3 million Americans suffer from this eye disease. Those at risk of glaucoma are individuals over 40, diabetics, or those who have migraines, high blood pressure, or a family history of eye diseases. Farsighted and nearsighted individuals are more likely to get glaucoma, as well as people with previous eye injuries.
The only way to diagnose glaucoma is to go to an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. While there is no cure for glaucoma, ophthalmologists can recommend taking eye drops to ease the symptoms. In addition, different types of laser surgeries can help treat this eye disease.
How glaucoma affects reading ability
Glaucoma can affect a patient’s reading ability in different ways, depending on its severity.
This eye disease affects not only your peripheral vision but also your central vision, which means that patients with glaucoma usually find reading challenging. Even if they can read, it’s very difficult since they experience intense eye strain while doing so.
When we read, we use our central vision and our mid-peripheral vision to move from one end of a line of text to the other. This vision impairment thus affects your reading speed, which is why individuals with glaucoma might choose to give up on reading altogether.
Patients with the most severe form of glaucoma might not be able to read at all. The inability to read prevents them from completing daily tasks independently, dramatically reducing their quality of life.
The solution – Text to speech software
Text to speech (TTS) is an assistive technology that can help patients with glaucoma read. It works as a screen reader that can read aloud any text on your device.
Many programs and apps have built-in text to speech features and other voiceover and accessibility features like Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Other types of TTS include web-based tools and Chrome extensions. In addition, there are various text to speech programs and apps you can download to your iPhone, iPad, and Android device. The best text to speech reader you can use is Speechify.
Speechify – Make reading easier with text to speech
Speechify is a text to speech platform that can convert any reading material into spoken language. Speechify uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to translate text from images into spoken language. In other words, Speechify can turn any digital or printed text into spoken words in a natural-sounding language.
This TTS tool has 10 to 30 high-contrast natural reading voices, and you can choose the reading speed, with a maximum of 5x faster speed. You can even choose the language and the accent of the reader.
You can install Speechify as a mobile app, which is available on Android and iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. It’s also possible to install Speechify as a Chrome extension and a free text to speech online tool.
Not only is Speechify useful for low vision individuals, but it can also allow glaucoma patients who can’t read to enjoy articles and complete daily tasks that require reading.
Does reading aggravate glaucoma?
No, quite the contrary. Reading can’t make your glaucoma worse, so if you have this eye illness, don’t be discouraged. There are various tools that can help you read.
What is a way for the visually impaired to read?
People with low vision and vision loss have alternative reading methods. The most common one is braille, a tactile writing system made of raised dots. Visually impaired persons can also listen to audiobooks or use text to speech technology.
Does magnification help glaucoma?
If you have glaucoma, you can use a magnifier as an assistive reading tool. Additionally, you can use a traditional handheld magnifier or a magnification app to zoom the reading material.
Can low vision people read?
Whether visually impaired persons can read depends on the severity of their eye disease. For example, patients with retinopathy, macular degeneration, and a more severe form of glaucoma can’t read.
What is the best way to read with glaucoma?
The best way to read with glaucoma is with text to speech technology. TTS software can read aloud any reading material, and it comes with different assistive features that can improve the reading experience.
What are some tools that are helpful for people with glaucoma?
There are various tools glaucoma patients can use, including text to speech technology, voiceovers, magnifiers, and assistive apps.
Can glaucoma patients read at night?
Patients with this low vision disorder might have bad night vision, which also prevents them from reading at night.