Good Hope, Heartlands, and Solihull Eye Clinics

Poor vision: hints & coping

Jayne Kempster, David Kinshuck, Bruce Fisher



Contrast is important to help reading: black print on white paper maximises contrast to make reading as easy as possible. On computer moitors, sometimes white type on a black screen is best.

reading with poor contrast is hard

increasing the contrast makes reading and writing much easier enlarge





In the kitchen good lighting and large labels, black on white or white on black, on jars for instance can make cooking easier.




Reading with a marker


Use a marker to assist reading.

The smaller the number of words you need to be see at one time, the easier it is to read.

If you hold the marker so only one line of text is visible, then move it down line by line, the words do not get mixed up, and it is easier to read.



wpe35.gifThis is a template in plastic for writing cheques


Writing is similar, with a cut out marker that helps you read only one line to be seen at a time. With cheques and pension books or any other specific document, then a specific cut out template makes writing easier. (Banks supply the cheque book templates.)


Writing with a black felt pen

When writing yourself, using a black felt pen can make writing much easier to read. This is particularly useful writing shopping lists.



Large print bills etc

ask for large  print bill if your sight is poor



Items such as telephone, electric and gas bills, as well as bank statements, can all be supplied in large print, this may mean that a lower powered magnification can be used.




photocopy to enlarge music to play the piano

Tasks such as reading music at a keyboard are not usually helped by optical magnification. The best method is to enlarge the copy. by photocopying: most photocopiers can do this.



Large print books

Large print books can be very helpful. These can sometimes be read with reading spectacles only, and very often with a lower powered magnifier. This often makes it easier to read in bed for instance.


large print books




Talking books

If this text is too difficult to read talking books or listening to the radio may be the only solution. RNIB Talking books. Most public libraries and local authorities can arrange a Talking Book service in the UK


Talking Microwave cookers and other home adaptations

talking micorwave cookers, for people with very poor sight


In the kitchen it is often better to use specially manufactured items, such as talking scales or microwaves when cooking. Magnifiers can be impractical in the kitchen.  

See The Ultimate Guide to Adapting Your Home If You Are Blind or Partially Sighted






The best way to get an enlarged picture on the TV is to get closer. Sitting close to the television will not damage the eyes



Lightweight binnoculars help at football matches

Lightweight binnoculars, lighter than these, may help at football matches etc


When going to the theatre, cinema or even to football matches, then small lightweight binoculars can be very helpful. These are readily available. It is often useful to use some that will focus to 6-8 feet (2 metres) as these are useful in the house. Many patients find binoculars useful when watching sport on TV.


Butcher's glove

Butcher's glove


These can be very useful for cooking. Wear the glove whilst chopping makes it difficult to cut fingers etc.


Satellite navigation

GPS navigation, helps finding your way around town

New GPS systems are expensive but provide fantastic help for those wanting to get around town.


  • hemianopia
  • visual search training may help
  • advice from the low vision team needed
  • hemianopia generally disqualifies driving
  • eligible for partial sight registration / sight impairment registration
  • visual difficulties are well known JNO 15



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