For those elderly folk who suffer from one form of macular degeneration or another, it seems that ereaders offer an ideal solution to their problems with reading.

eyeanatomy2Macular degeneration is defined as follows:-

Macular degeneration is a silent and painless loss of central vision due to the degeneration or dying of cells in the retina, called the macula.

What is lost is the central portion of your sight – what you see right in front of you like the face of a person or the words in a book.

Obviously this will give tremendous problems when trying to read, as we use the centre of our field of vision to see the letters on the page – try to read a book only looking at the page from the edge of your field of vision – sort of looking off to the left or right and see how easy it is to read the page whilst not actually looking at it properly and you will see what I mean.

In fact there are a whole load of different versions of this particular eye problem, but they all entail the loss of centre field vision to one degree or another, and all, obviously effect how easy and pleasurable it is to read a book.

And this is where ereaders come into their own as opposed to regular printed paper books, which unless you buy yourself large print versions of whatever book you wish to read, the letters (fonts) are way too small for someone with this particular eye problem to see to any degree.

Added to which is the sad fact that not all books are published in a large font version, and generally they also cost more than their standard versions as well.   So paper books are really not much use to those suffering from this particular form of eye problem – which is a quite large proportion of people over 65 years of age, sadly.

So, why is an ereader a help?

Simply put, almost all real ereaders or Tablets with ereading Apps installed in them, allow you to change the size of the font (letters on the page) from extremely small letters to letters so big it is almost one word per page.  Further one can define the number of words in a line, (the word spacing).  On tablets and some ereaders you can set the contrast (how dark the letters are), and the letter type (some letter types are easier to read than others).   So you can go from this:-

“John was a very annoying man….”

To this:-

 “John was a very annoying man….”

To this:-

“John was a very annoying man….”

 To this:-

“J o h n   w a s   a   v e r y    a n n o y i n g   m a n ….”

And so on…. Loads of possibilities in almost all ereaders and tablets.

And all these adjustments are very simple to set up, a few clicks of the buttons or swipes on the screen of your ereader and it is done.    Which has the added benefit of being able to set things up on the screen in different ways when in different situations…  In bright sunlight you might be OK with a smaller font, and then at night in bed you will need to set it bigger to allow for the lower lighting situation.. endless possibilities, and these changes can be made to any ebook you have in your ereader.   So no problems such as trying to find special large font versions of the books you wish to read any more.

Which ereader should you buy?

Well actually it hardly matters, as almost all ereaders and tablets (iPads, etc) have all these wondrous possibilities in them.  So it it is more a matter of deciding if you prefer a monochrome dedicated ereader or want colour – in which case you should buy a tablet I feel.  Or do you prefer to work with buttons or with a touch screen?   All those aspects can be answered by simply going to your nearest electronics shop or good book store and playing with the ereaders and tablets they sell..  Or reading posts such as this one to find out the pros and cons of the various current models on the market.

Share with us:

Do you have any experience with using ereaders or tablets for people suffering from this (or any other) form of reading problem?   If so, do please share your thoughts and experiences with us here.

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