Reading in my One-Eyed Life

This past October, I wrote a post called ‘One Eyed Life’. In it, I tried to define my disability and the implications and consequences of it on my life; including my energy level. I feel that I should enlight a bit on the fact that I don’t need people to think that I am strong for ‘having endured’. I have endured nothing at all. Plus, I have learned many ways to bypass the little issue. I have discovered a handful of benefits and I have also learned to utilize technology and other innovations. This is my one-eyed life in practice. I would like to note that this is all in regard to how I currently live my life, for if I mentioned all the points in my life that are of interest to this topic, that I could publish it into a book series.

NOTE; I am not a resource for people who are looking for solutions to reading without eyesight or with partial sight. However, this post might offer ideas and insight.

Let us then settle on the topic of books while we’re at it. I enjoy books; the fantasy genre especially. I have two fully stocked bookshelves with both fiction and non-fiction. There are books about fantasy creatures, books about writing and books about the fantasy genre itself. Besides this, I need books in order to study, obviously.

So, let me indulge you in my world of books and reading. First, there is one that is probably fairly popular nowadays; the audio book. I purchase them from audible or get them from listening libraries. However, rather than reading them on my phone or playing them on my computer or tablet, I actually have a device for them. The device is the size of a smartphone and has a multitude of buttons on it. This device is called a Victor Reader Stream. What I can do is copy files to an SD memory card and place the card within this device. The device, at my command, then plays the files for me. The upside of this device is that it has long-lasting battery as well as countless options to adjust your listening preferences such as audio speed and pitch. You can place bookmarks within the book you are reading which you can retrieve later. This function I often use when obtaining audio files of my study books, but more on that later.

I also have a device called a TV magnifier. I’m not sure if that is the correct term for it in English but it is what we call it here. As the name would suggest, it is a screen. This screen (more like a computer screen now that TVs have become enormous objects these days) is positioned over a flat surface below that can be moved around. The screen displays a portion of the surface below; showing a magnified replica. Using this device, I can adjust the color palette (light on dark, dark on light, green on dark, yellow and blue and much more) as well as the contrast brightness. Should there be very light text somewhere, I can increase the contrast brightness so the letters become more distinct. I often read my books about fantasy creatures and such under here so I can also look at the pictures closely.

Now that that’s out of the way; we’ll move on to devices that most of you are more familiar with; computers, tablets and smartphones. The computer, on which I am currently typing, is in no way special, other than that it is mine and is thus full of creative things. Windows has a handful of built-in tools that allow me to fully use the software. I always use the inverted colors; which changes black to white, green to pink and yellow to blue (this is after all RBG coding and not paint or light). I can easily turn it on and off again with a few simple keys so I can still view pictures correctly. Besides this, I use the magnifier tool. This tool allows you to magnify a portion of the screen or the entire screen. I prefer the latter; meaning I only view a small part of the screen at a time (about one-ninth). It takes some practice to work with, as my brothers and friends demonstrate; they are not good at it. Finally, I use a narrator function which reads what is on the screen. It follows your cursor; meaning that if I had it on while typing this, it would read out every word (or even symbol or no words at all, depending on settings). For the educational part of my life, I use digital books. They appear in audio formats, EDU (which is plain text in Word; no pictures or graphs and such included) or PDF. There are other formats but I prefer these. Depending on the subject, I order one or multiple formats. The company Dedicon receives my orders. They convert my books and deliver them to me on a CD. They arrive in my tangible mailbox at my request.

My phone and tablet, both products by Apple, have equal functions as those mentioned above and I often use them. Sometimes when I’m reading other blogs, I will do so on my phone and have the device read it to me. This takes the strain away from my eyes, which saves energy, after all.

Besides these things, proper lightning always helps. I also have a few hand magnifiers. One is a very simple glass one which I use to read my phone with, since often times magnifying makes its surface too small to properly navigate. Using speech functions isn’t very handy when out and about either. Using the magnifier is simply the fastest.

The second handheld magnifier is about the same as the previously mentioned one, but it has the addition of a light within it. I use this one to read short, simple things (instructions on packages of food). The final handheld magnifier is basically a small version of the TV magnifier. It has less functions however and I can not adjust the magnification scale. (My health insurance didn’t want to pay for the ones that allowed for this function. Cheapskates…)

I have attempted using e-books on my iPad but there are many different e-book platforms and thus countless apps. Besides, since I already have an excellent service that provides my school books, I wouldn’t need it for that. Audio books are quite pleasant too and the narrators in those books are much better than any of my speech functions could ever be. Finally, I prefer the feel and smell of actual books. That is why e-books aren’t for me.

What else is there to say? I believe this about sums up my situation on the aspect of reading and books.

I had intended to describe multiple aspects in this post but this one topic already took up plenty of words and symbols, so I’ll leave the other topics for another time and hope they do equally well.

Until then; may destiny be kind to you.

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