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Reading with cataracts? Text-to-speech to the rescue.

Older woman with headphones Text-to-speech

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See how you can continue reading with cataracts using Speechify text-to-speech app.

Cataracts shouldn’t stop you from reading. See how you can continue reading with cataracts and enjoy books, emails from loved ones, work, or any other document.

There are more than 24.4 million adults 40 and older in the United States who have cataracts. As cataracts develop,  it is typically slowly progressive as the person ages, the effects can range from slight vision problems to total vision loss. It is estimated that half of all 75-year-old Americans have cataracts. The number is higher if you count other eye problems.

Reading with a cataract can be difficult because the vision can be affected. A person with cataracts may have greater difficulty seeing the words on a page or they might need a brighter light when reading. It can be frustrating because you may find that you need readers, eye drops, or your eyeglass prescription changes suddenly or dramatically.

June is cataract awareness month

At Speechify we want to empower people to read. Whether you have cataracts in both eyes or one, you should be able to have your books, email or other documents read aloud.

The truth is, we don’t realize just how much we rely on our eyes to read until we aren’t able to. Fortunately, there are solutions like Speechify that can help.

You or someone you know has cataracts or other eye conditions that has made reading difficult? Speechify is the best text-to-speech app that’s trusted by millions. Try it free today

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a fogginess that affects the lens of the eye. Normally, the lens is clear, but a cataract causes it to get cloudy. It can be a spot, several spots, or the entire lens. This can affect vision, making it difficult to see close up, as in reading, as well as at night.

According to the National Eye Institute, there are five main types of cataracts:

  1. Age-related cataracts (most common)
  2. Traumatic cataracts
  3. Radiation cataracts
  4. Pediatric cataracts
  5. Secondary cataracts, also called posterior capsule opacification

When a cataract causes a clouding on the lens, the light cannot pass through it as well. This means that the eye can’t focus the light as it should. This leads to blurry vision or even double vision, making it difficult to see and read.

The way that your vision changes is dependent upon the size and location of the cataract. Some may be minimal, some may cause a spot in the field of vision, some may be significant with a great deal of vision loss.

If you suspect you have cataracts, you should see a doctor to verify it. Often cataracts can be identified at your annual eye exam which is another reason to see your eye doctor regularly. Early detection means early treatment which can help you maintain your vision and avoid the challenges that cataracts present.

What challenges can cataracts present?

Loss of vision or even difficulty with vision goes far beyond simply having a hard time reading. It can become a struggle that can affect your work, increasing stress, or make it more difficult to function at school. Daily tasks can become difficult to accomplish and many people find themselves avoiding reading – and they miss it.

They may experience difficulty with contrast, making it hard to see words on a page. Losing the ability to identify color is another challenge that can affect reading as well as daily life. The person may feel like they were robbed of certain life experiences, or they may feel like their quality of life has dropped.

All of this struggle can have a serious impact on mental health. Frustration, anxiety, and depression are all common results of vision loss or severely blurred vision due to cataracts. People can become isolated as they withdraw from friends and family. They may feel embarrassed that reading is so difficult for them now and people often cope with that discomfort by pulling away from others and staying to themselves.

Often people will try to compensate for their vision loss. They will get books with large print, increase the font on their computers, use brighter lights when reading, and get stronger glasses. While these things may make it a little easier to read, they are only temporary because the disease is progressive. You will always need a brighter light, bigger print, and stronger glasses. That is no way to live.

Reading with cataract. Pre or post surgery

Many people who have cataracts opt for cataract surgery which is a common, safe procedure. It is done on an outpatient basis and performed by an ophthalmologist. This means that the patient can go home shortly after the procedure, and they do not have to stay in the hospital.

During the surgery, the doctor will remove the eye lens that has the cataract and usually replace it with a lens that is artificial. This artificial lens is clear and restores the patient’s vision.

When working with your doctor to decide if cataract surgery is right for you, they may ask you questions about your daily tasks and if you have any problems watching TV or reading. They want to know if it is hard for you to do yard work, cook, climb stairs, shop, or take medications where you have to read the bottle. They will also assess how your cataracts affect the way you perform your job. Can you work safely?

Most of all, the doctor will want to know if the problems you have with your vision affect your independence. For instance, reading is such a huge part of most people’s lives, not being able to do it can make them feel powerless, ineffective, and like they have to depend on others for the most basic things.

Post-surgery for cataracts there is also some downtime. Yes, your vision will be better, and it will get better, but it takes time. You will probably still need some reading assistance for a time after you have surgery.

Think about how many times a day you read. You are probably reading this article right now. Reading is important. It is one of the most basic, most vital forms of communication after speech. You don’t want to lose that ability.

Text-to-Speech: A viable Solution for those with cataracts

So, what is the answer?

When reading for entertainment you may feel that audiobooks are an option. And they are, but it’s pretty limited. Only specific books are on audio and when you think about it, the number of audiobooks compared to the number of print or electronic books is pretty small. You just don’t have that much of a selection.

The solution is text-to-speech, or TTS.

TTS is an innovative technology that allows you to read any text, whether its emails, eBooks, PDFs, and your work communications, notes, and assignments. If it can be turned into an image, it can be read with TTS. In fact, it is better than reading. You can increase the speed of the speech and become more productive that people who have 20/20 vision.<

Take pictures of letters, your personal print book collection, invoices, textbooks, your mail, and let the technology read it to you. All the images are stores securely in the cloud. If you are linked to the patient portal for your doctor or surgeon, TTS can help you read the messages and notes contained there with ease. If you have electronic books, it can read those too.

You won’t have to ask someone else to read to you. You can be self-sufficient and regain some of your independence that your loss of vision stole from you. It can give you your life back.

Speechify can Help You Gain Independence

While TTS isn’t a solution for cataract it is a solution for living with cataracts. It provides reading help in a way that allows you to retain your independence.

There are many other advantages though:

Understand more of what you read and increase your reading comprehension.

Improve your reading focus so that you are less likely to be distracted.

Get through content more than 2 times faster than if you read it yourself.

Do other things while reading such as housework, walking, or working out.

Speechify’s TTS solutions offer industry leading technology that uses natural sounding voices that have the ability to read as much as 9 times faster that the average human’s reading speed. These AI voices are customizable, and the speed can be adjusted to your own preference.

The Speechify app syncs all of your devices allowing you to read anything in your library no matter where you are or what device you are using. It is right there at your fingertips.

Choosing Speechify can help you go from burdened down with vision loss to independent and moving forward despite your challenges. Pre-op, post-op or anywhere in between, we have the text-to-speech solutions for your busy life.

Try us for free to discover the freedom of reading via TTS.