Back-lit E-Readers Offer Help for Vision Impaired

The holiday season is nearly upon us and older adults in the family can be hard to buy for during this gift-giving time of the year.  Books are usually a good bet and although many still prefer reading a paper and binding book, e-readers can be a useful tool for seniors with vision problems.

A natural-looking page such as found on the Kobo Touch or the Kindle Paperwhite are designed to reduce glare and can be used even in bright light.  The font size can be adjusted on e-readers and many e-books also provide a link to audible narration.  Seniors can stay involved in a community book club by listening to an e-book when reading becomes a challenge.

Many libraries offer a wide selection of e-books that can be borrowed and downloaded onto your device as part of your membership without cost.  AARP offers a discount through on a selection of Kindle books as well as Kindle e-readers.   Open Library and Project Gutenburg are websites that also offer a large selection of free e-books and audio books available for download.

Research at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School found that of 100 participants, those who used a back-lit screen tablet for reading found the print had greater contrast and appeared sharper.  This increased clarity allowed patients with modest vision loss to improve their reading speed.

To prevent eye strain, take a break from the screen every 15 minutes to roll your shoulders; get up and walk around after 2 hours and let your eyes rest.  If dry eyes are a problem, check with your doctor about artificial tears.  Ask an optometrist about proper reading glasses for electronic devices and try to position the e-reader at a level that will not cause you to look down constantly; there are many stands and cases that can help.