Optical Character Recognition

Optical character recognition is exactly that—computer software that “reads” written documents placed on a desktop scanner or under a specially designed digital camera and converts it into spoken text. OCR software allows you to read just about anything, from books and magazines to bills, bank statements and consumer catalogs. Adjustable font and color features also make it possible to track the print visually while listening. If you don’t have a computer (not everybody wants one!), you can still use optical character recognition technology with no computer required!

Screen Reader and Magnification Software

Screen reader or magnification software makes the computer usable even when you have difficulty seeing the screen. By converting most electronic information on a standard personal computer into enlarged or spoken text, the computer becomes a very useful tool even if you have little or no vision. You can continue to surf the Internet by enlarging the print on your computer screen and using a large-print keyboard. Many magnification programs also include a reading feature that enables you to either enlarge screen text to whatever size is comfortable for reading or have the words spoken aloud. Bottom line: Screen magnification or reader software allows you to confidently send and receive email, manage your bank account, or shop for birthday gifts.
  • NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) is a free screen reader that allows people who are blind or low vision to use computers. Learn how to install and use NVDA on your computer using the American Foundation for the Blind tutorial
  • Check out Freedom Scientific to find out other software solutions such as JAWS, a screen reading software or FUSION, which includes screen enlargement and speech.

Computer Training

You can take a computer class for people with low or no vision. For example, Hadley offers free Technology Workshops for all types of technology. Some of training includes computer skills such as customizing window for low vision users, keyboarding, and using screen readers. You can call Hadley to get technical support: (800) 323-4238 or to sign up for a class.