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NARRATOR 1: Various devices being used by people with visual disabilities.

NARRATOR 2: Developments in technology have had a profound effect on improving the daily lives of people with low vision.

TEACHER: What we’re looking at is the next step up from, like, a hand-held magnifier.

NARRATOR 2: Devices and software are now available that make activities in the home, at the workplace, or on the go possible and fun again. A video magnifier is a powerful device that uses a camera to magnify printed material and project it on a screen. It’s a great choice for those who want to read their bills, correspondence, newspaper, or even tiny prescription labels. There is also a device that scans reading materials and converts text into speech. It can read books and letters to you.

VOICE: People find everyday tasks difficult to do.

NARRATOR 2: Special screen-reader software can also allow you to read and write email as well as surf the Internet.

NARRATOR 1: A man typing a web address. [Computerized voice speaking]

NARRATOR 2: Video magnifiers are now available in a smaller hand-held size with all the same options for switching background and text color. It’s ideal for reading menus, price tags and labels. That means no more having to ask, guess, or just not know. And this device that you wear on your head and over your glasses lets you zoom in and out or look at optics at a distance. With it, you can see across the room or across the playing field.

WOMAN: I can bring in the objects I was looking at and see them very clearly.

NARRATOR 2: If you miss reading books, there are many options. The National Library of Congress offers a program for the visually impaired called “Talking Books.” The program provides books recorded on tapes as well as a special large-button tape player.

VOICE ON TAPE: “Chapter One. During the winter, the pace accelerated tremendously for Mr. Henry Warren.”

NARRATOR 2: Many radio stations across the country even read the daily newspaper aloud with the help of volunteers like these.

MAN: …a concerted effort to beautify the city and improve residents’ quality of life. That’s an average of 400 calls a day. With officials putting the finishing touches on the city’s budget…

NARRATOR 2: Being aware of the technology and services available has radically changed the independence of those with vision loss and is helping them stay informed and lead full lives.