Article - Improve Your Reading Environment
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There's nothing quite like the printed word. Newspapers, books and magazines can inform, delight, educate, or stimulate, while carrying us through every possible emotion. Reading can be part of a daily routine that keeps us in touch with the world. It can be an escape as we delve into different worlds for hours at a time. Reading can also be part of a hobby that requires detailed instruction or a job assignment that requires our full attention. However, when you can't see well or you have a physical challenge, like severe arthritis, this task can become difficult.
If you have been experiencing some discomfort when reading, take stock of the nature of the discomfort and then consider the following changes in your reading environment to make it more comfortable.
If you've already had an eye exam for corrective glasses and you still struggle with small print or get headaches when you read, try:
Changes in lighting:
Good lighting reduces the strain reading can put on the eyes. It is important to create a reading environment with appropriate lighting. Sunlight streaming through the window brightens the room, but it might make it difficult to read. Facing the sun could cause shadows to be cast on your reading material, reducing the contrast of the print on the paper.
When reading a book, high intensity reading lamps are ideal. However, if you are reading a magazine or other slightly shiny or reflective paper, these high intensity lights can cause glare. In these cases, indirect light that floods the area without causing glare or shadows is the best solution.
Over-the-counter reading glasses can be helpful if you are not wearing prescription glasses. These reading glasses come in all sorts of styles and pricing.
Lots of other kinds of magnifiers are available. They come in varying shapes and sizes, handheld or on stands, electronic or optical.
Optical magnifiers are your standard magnifiers. They are placed at a small distance from the reading material, allowing you to adjust the focal point for the best magnification and clarity for the task at hand. They can be handheld or on a stand for hands-free magnification. They come in a variety of magnification levels. Many optical magnifiers also come with lights.Electronic magnifiers usually have a magnifying camera that takes an image of the page and displays it on a screen. The magnification, or zoom, is often adjustable.
Many popular books, newspapers and magazines are available in large print format at most bookstore chains. There is also an increasing selection of books available on audio tape. Some newspapers, like the Wall Street Journal and NY Times can also be found in audio format.
Computers, eReaders and iPads can provide ways to adapt reading materials to your needs. The internet has a wealth of reading material that can be downloaded to your computer or eReader. Settings on your computer or eReader can change the magnification of the print and often the color, brightness and/or contrast. There is also screen reading software that can turn digital content into audio output.
If your ability to read is hampered by a physical challenge, consider these alternatives:
If you cannot hold a book due to arthritis, single-handedness or other physical conditions, you will need to work differently with printed material. Use a bookstand on a table or an over-the-chair table to hold your material upright. If you need to stay in bed, a bed tray with a reading stand could be just the thing you need.
There are some simple homemade solutions too. Unread pages can be held back with a loose rubber band allowing you to easily turn the next page when you're ready. You can clip the pages you have read together with a paperclip or hold them down with a paperweight. Magazines and newspapers can be laid flat on a table or folded in sections, the way train commuters do. Then smaller sections can be held in one hand or on the bookstand while you read.
Choose a chair that is firm with good back support and arms. It will be easier to sit down and get up from than a plush chair with deep cushioning. If you need to have your legs raised, a recliner is a good choice. There are lift chair recliners with button controls that make it much easier to get out of the recliner.
If getting in and out of a chair is a chore for you, make sure to supply yourself with some basic necessities, like a telephone and something to drink. A side table is nice, but a tray table or an over-the-chair table is even better. You won't have to twist to reach what you need and the book or magazine can be held comfortably right in front of you.
If reading has become more difficult for you, consider alternatives that allow you to continue reading with less strain. There are coupons to be found, mysteries to uncover and world events to follow. Read in comfort!
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