Reading with OrCam According to the National Eye Institute, macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans age 60 and older. Macular degeneration is a disease that destroys the sharp, central vision. Central vision is what people need to see things clearly and to perform tasks such as driving and reading. AMD causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina. As AMD progresses, the person starts to experience a blurred area near the center of vision. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger. AMD does not lead to complete blindness but the loss of vision can interfere with daily activities. Who is at risk? The disease is most likely to occur after age 60, but it can also occur earlier. Some other risk factors include smoking, genetics, and family history. Some researchers have even found that eating healthy, exercising, and maintaining a normal blood pressure and cholesterol level can reduce the risk of AMD or slow its progression. So what are some tools for macular degeneration? There are different version of magnifiers on the market that help enlarge text or image. Hand-held magnifiers are one of the simplest type of magnifiers and gives the user the ability to adjust the distance between the lens and the object. Hand-held magnifiers come in all different shapes, sizes, and designs. Desktop video magnifiers usually have a flat surface on which the object is placed and often allow the user to project the text or image onto a TV. This feature is good for reading for long periods of time. There are a range of products made with large text and special features to help people adapt to vision loss. These include phones with large number buttons and speed dialing, talking clocks and wrist watches, large print checks, talking calculators, large print playing cards, large numbered measuring cups and more. Speech to text converters are also helpful to people with vision loss who like to use the computer. Just by using your voice, you can search the web, write an email and more. Fortunately, these days, you can find tools for macular degeneration for almost every task. Adjusting to vision loss using these aids will help give people with a visual impairment a sense of independence.