Eight Eye Apps To Help Patients
BY ERIN MURPHY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Do you use a hands-free app for your smartphone while you drive? Consider what an excellent tool that app is for people of all ages with visual impairment or low vision — especially those who can’t easily use the keyboard.
There are many excellent tablet and smartphone tools to help your patients with visual impairment or low vision. These eight apps can help reduce frustration, increase enjoyment, and allow these patients to live independently.
1. BE MY EYES
(IPHONE & IPAD, FREE)
Using this app (pictured), individuals who are blind, visually impaired, or have low vision can request a video connection with a sighted volunteer for help. For example, if the user can’t read the instructions on a package, she connects with a volunteer on the phone or tablet, points the device at the package, and asks the volunteer to read it aloud.
(IPHONE, IPAD, & IPOD TOUCH, FREE)
There are several money reader apps to help visually impaired people identify bills. This one, from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, is simple and free. Users simply open the app and point the camera at a bill, and the app displays the denomination in large text and reads it out loud.
3. KNFB READER
(IPHONE, IPAD, & ANDROID, $99.99)
Created by the National Federation of the Blind, this American Foundation for the Blind Access Award-winning app allows users to point their device at any type of printed document — from books to mail to recipes and more — and have the app read it to them.
4. MAGNIFYING GLASS WITH LIGHT
(IPHONE AND IPAD, FREE)
This virtual magnifying glass works through the phone or tablet’s video camera. Users open the app and point the camera at the object that needs to be magnified to see a full-screen, enlarged view. The lighted view is particularly helpful in low-light situations, such as reading a menu in a dimly lit restaurant. Similar apps are available for Android and Windows phones and tablets.
5. MANGO HEALTH
(IPHONE & ANDROID, FREE)
One of many medication apps on the market, Mango Health features a clear, attractive design, making it easy for patients to set and manage their notifications. Audio reminders alert users when it’s time to take their medication, and they can confirm in the app that they have taken it. As an added bonus, the app also displays drug side effects and interactions.
6. SPOTLIGHT TEXT
Spotlight Text, an eBook reader crafted specifically for individuals with vision loss, includes access to more than 300,000 books in the frequently updated library of a nonprofit called Bookshare. Users can adjust the text size and brightness as needed. A free version, Spotlight Text Light, allows users to sample the app with a 20-book library before purchase.
(IOS DEVICES & ANDROID, FREE)
This app, another winner of an American Foundation for the Blind Access Award, helps individuals with visual impairment to identify objects. When users point their device at an object and tap the screen, the app snaps a photo, identifies the object, and uses VoiceOver to tell what it is.
(IPHONE & IPAD, FREE)
This app applies filters to a device’s video camera to illustrate how various eye diseases affect vision. Patients’ families can see what the world looks like for someone with macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, retinitis pigmentosa, and other diseases and conditions. NRP