Age-related Macular Degeneration and computing

This blog post is part of a series that answers on some of the most common requests on our free advice and information helpline. This one looks at how technology can help people with Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

What is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

photo of an eyeAMD is a sight condition that is normally found in people who are over 50.  People with the condition lose their central vision over time.  The vision loss may make it harder for people to recognise faces, drive and read print. It is worth noting though that people with the condition still have peripheral vision. There are two types of AMD, wet and dry.  Famous people with the condition include writer Stephen King.

How many people in the UK have the condition?

According to the Macular Society (http://www.macularsociety.org/) at the moment there are around 500,000 people in the UK with this condition.

Top tips for easier computing

Using the accessibility options (or universal access) you can make the text bigger and you can also change the colour of it so you can view it more easily. Using the basic magnification software on the computer may also be beneficial. Positioning the computer, especially the monitor may also be really useful too. If your sight gets to the point where reading text is impossible you can consider using text to speech, where the computer can read text out to you in a synthesized voice.

Screen magnification software

Case study

Enid called us. She explained that her condition was meaning that she had a lot of dazzle from the screen. She used to use her computer a lot for online shopping as she also has some mobility problems and finds it difficult to get out.

We explained that she could customise the accessibility options within her computer to make the screen easier to read and so she could continue ordering her shopping online. We even suggested that a volunteer might be able to come out and help

How can we help?

There are a few ways that we can help:

  • Call our free Helpline. We’re open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0800 269 545. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will discuss any kind of computer problem and do their best to come up with a solution.
  • Arrange a home visit. We have a network of freindly ITCanHelp volunteers who can help if you have technical issues with your computer systems. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone.

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