As the former director of Low Vision Services at LSU Medical school, Dr. John Henahan has always been passionate about helping the blind and those with visual impairments. Fifteen years ago, that meant assisting patients to read printed material and move about without harming themselves. An increasingly connected world risks leaving these patients further and further behind.
“It’s a visual digital divide”, says Dr. Henahan who still works with the visually impaired at Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree city. “Although these patients have the means, they are being shut out of the opportunities presented by technologies like the Blackberry. That is why I am so excited by the steps that Apple is taking with their ‘Accessibility‘ campaign.”
Apple computer, Inc. has long been an innovator in the personal computer, MP3 and more recently mobile phone space. With the growing popularity of iPhones, touch screen iPods and the new iPad, Apple has quietly worked to enable their devices for those with visual impairments, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa and Stargardt’s macular dystrophy among others.
At it’s heart, Apple has worked to create a series of simple to remember gestures that allow information on the screen of their Mac computer or Apple branded mobile device to be read aloud (This technology only works with Apple devices). Apple has also ingeniously developed ways for the visually impaired to navigate the maze of applications, emails and other information on these devices.
If you know of someone who is visually impaired, take the time to learn more about Apple’s VoiceOver technology. You can also click here to directly to a video demonstrating the VoiceOver on an iPhone. For those looking for a solution for their desktop Mac or Mac laptop, this video demonstrates how it works on a computer
For those in the Atlanta area looking for someone to evaluate and provide low vision services, feel free to contact us, or call 770-487-0667.
by John Henahan