Before e readers and tablets came around, blind and visually impaired readers had to rely on braille, large-print, or audiobooks. Now, the visually impaired can use a Kindle or other e-reader or tablet to enlarge the font right in the screen. I can attest first-hand that reading a Kindle is much less tiresome on the eyes than reading print books.
That is definitely a huge step up from lugging large books around. No more bulky travel bags.
The font adjustments in the Kindle are very helpful for creating a less tiresome reading experience, not only for the visually impaired, but for people who don’t have any vision loss. That in turn enables us to read for as long as we want to. As long as time permits, of course.
The latest studies show that people who have central vision loss can benefit from reading on a tablet such as the iPad or Kindle Fire. The level of contrast between the text and background helps speed up the reader’s reading levels. The sharpness and clarity of the text on the background is important. On tablets, you can use either black on white, or white on black. There is also a more neutral setting that doesn’t create such sharp contrast. So, the added customization can fit the needs of more readers.
Overall, e readers have a lot of potential for opening up a world of reading and literacy for people who otherwise wouldn’t have that opportunity.
With that said, the technology still has a ways to go to meet the needs of all readers. Text-to-speech is currently a controversial service, and isn’t offered on some Kindles. Including audio menu navigation and the ability to read books via audio on the Kindle go a long way for those who can’t read print at all.