Easy and Affordable Magnification Tips

Last updated: August 2022

A distressing aspect of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is that it is progressive. You think you have everything in hand, accommodations match your skills, and – oops! – suddenly, everything is blurry again.

Easy and affordable magnification for AMD

Magnification is the name of the game in AMD vision loss. Get closer, enlarge the font, do whatever you need to do to make what you are looking at take up more retina. The idea is to get most of the image off of your destroyed macula and onto the peripheral retina where you might have a chance of seeing it.

Mobile phone magnification

In the past couple of weeks, I have noticed I have been having a very tough time reading text messages. I needed bigger font. Fortunately, that is a lot easier to do than you may think.

The settings icon on an iPhone is that gray thing. It is supposed to look like a gear, but I think it’s pretty stylized. Whatever it is, open it. Scroll down to the accessibility icon. That icon is blue.

Open that. The third one down is display and text size. Open that. If you have not had the display and text size memo open before, you will have to open it. Slide the button near the top to the right. It will now show green. That means you are ready to go to the sliding scale near the bottom. Slide that to the right until the text is more comfortably read.

Congratulations! You are done.

Audio options

It is also possible to use voice over and have your texts read to you. I find that annoying and do not need that sort of support yet. The operative word there is “yet”.

My impression that it is aggravating was confirmed when I turned it on to see what I would be able to tell you about it and I could not navigate away from the page! If you get in this predicament, there is an emergency fail safe. The phone will still take voice commands. Just say “Hey, Siri” and instruct her to ‘turn voice over OFF!”’

If you like to get your news from the news app on your phone or tablet, there is a way to make the text bigger, too. Most articles have a small "a" and a big "A" in the upper-righthand corner. Click on the "aA" and they will enlarge. Tap on the large "A" and the font in the article will enlarge. I had mentioned that before, but it is always good to repeat things.

Magnification devices

Truth of the matter is, my most valuable tool as a visually-impaired person is my closed-circuit TV magnifier. The other truth of the matter is it was $4,500! Since I use it for work, for me, it is a business expense. You might not be that lucky.

Instead, remember there are some very good magnification programs you can get for free from the App Store. And, if you don’t feel like sitting there holding your iPad? There are stands you can buy that will hold it for you. The one I have is the Justand from Procomputing. It is about $160.

Is it the only option? No. Is it the best? No clue. It was, however, the one I could find when I did a search. That is good enough for me to recommend it. If you want someone to buy your product, they have got to be able to find it!

So, there you are. Magnification on the relatively cheap. There really is a way – several of them – to keep adapting.

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