Close up of a smartphone being used by a white man.

Benefits of using technology

Our Managing Sight Loss courses benefit from the input of accessible technology experts, who are available to offer advice and guidance to course participants.

Over the last 30 years technology has advanced rapidly, and many mainstream products are now accessible to people with sight loss. For example, it’s possible to purchase common household devices such as washing machines and microwaves which will talk to you. Smartphones have accessible options, and computers can use screen reading software to make them accessible. Some smartphone applications can tell you what’s in front of you, or where you are. You can load all your audio books onto a smartphone and take them wherever you go or point the phone’s camera and read text aloud.

However, technology is not always the simplest and fastest solution to solving a problem. Sometimes using a magnifier, black felt tip pen or little orange bumps to identify settings or complete other tasks can be simpler and cheaper. So, consider what you’d like to achieve then seek advice on the best way to achieve it. Talk to your rehab worker about equipment that’s available to you following an assessment of need. They will also have advice and tips about completing everyday tasks using low vision or in a non-visual manner.

RNIB has a shop which sells specialist equipment and the helpline team or Tech for Life team at RNIB will be able to talk you through the best gadget, phone or computer for you. Depending on where you live RNIB may have a volunteer who is able to visit your home and assist you setting up equipment, and that includes any equipment, not just equipment purchased from RNIB. If you would like to know more about equipment, call RNIB’s helpline 0303 123 9999 helpline@rnib.org.uk; or visit www.vitaltech.org.uk for information on a huge range of technologies from gadgets that help locate your keys, locks that recognise your face, to mobile phone apps that help you move around.   If you use an Apple product then you can book in for support at your local store where you will find support from staff trained in how to use the accessibility software built into the products.

Our group members told us

Helpful apps

An app is a programme on a phone, tablet or computer that completes a specific task, for example you might have an app that plays scrabble. There are some helpful apps to use with smart phones, however, remember that new apps are published online all the time. Apps are usually free or cost less than £5; occasionally specialist apps can be expensive.

Have you got some top technology tips? Get in touch on: info@londonvision.org

Want more resources? Go back to the Managing Sight Loss course resources page.