- Between 20,000 and 30,000 older Vermonters are expected to have serious vision problems by 2030, with macular degeneration being a major concern. Vision rehabilitation therapist Julia Soleau helps people adapt to vision loss and troubleshoot problems they may have in their homes.
- Many computers and mobile devices have features that can adjust text and font size, include a zoom magnifier, and speak screens that read on-screen content out loud in different voices. The Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides assistance to those with vision problems, including help with audiobooks and accessibility programs.
- Other organizations, such as the Vermont Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, offer a wide range of services to help seniors with vision problems live independently and stay connected to their communities.
In an effort to provide better accessibility and convenience to Vermonters with vision problems, new apps and technology tools have been developed to assist them with daily tasks. These advancements have provided numerous benefits to visually impaired individuals, making their lives easier and more manageable.
One such tool is the Be My Eyes app, which enables visually impaired people to connect with sighted volunteers who can assist them in real-time through video chat. Vermonters who struggle with reading labels, identifying items, or navigating in unfamiliar surroundings can now rely on this app to receive immediate visual assistance from friendly volunteers.
Another app, Voice Dream Reader, has made reading more manageable for visually impaired individuals. The app uses text-to-speech technology to read text from any document aloud, giving visually impaired users greater access to the written word. With the option to adjust voice speed, tone, and language, Voice Dream Reader has provided a personalized experience to users and has improved their reading proficiency.
Advancements in navigation technology have also been made for Vermonters with vision problems. BeSpecular, a remote sighted assistance app, allows users to send photos or videos of their surroundings to volunteer assistants who can then describe the environment to the impaired user in real-time. This technology has proved to be incredibly useful for visually impaired individuals who struggle with navigation or unfamiliar environments.
Additionally, wearable technologies like smartwatches have been designed with visually impaired individuals in mind. They use haptic feedback and voice commands to provide information about the user’s location, upcoming appointments, notifications, and more.
These new apps and technology tools have contributed to a more accessible and inclusive society for visually impaired Vermonters. By providing various options for communication, navigation, and reading, these advancements have improved the quality of life for those who struggle with vision problems, providing them with greater independence and freedom.