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Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer

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Looking for suggestion for a new flat screen monitor for a friend with macular degeneration.  She needs the everything to be as big as it can be PLUS a black background with white lettering works the best for her.  She also would like to have a mouse pointer that is BIG and black in color. 

I am thinking that someone here has dealt with this problem before and could give me a few hints.  Maybe a bigger screen isn't better or an LED screen would be the answer.  Or would a better video card help?

I originally posted on the forum here with a similar question


  It just depends on how far away from the screen the eyes are.  The newer LED's are crystal clear and have adjustments for the background lighting with the O-LED's being better.  A 23 inch wide-screen monitor should be all she will require unless she sits far from the monitor.  As far as pointers go, you can configure your pointers in the mouse properties.

  Most video cards are just fine for everyday 2D applications.

My ex-boss had the condition.  She had a particular prescription just for computer work.  Might investigate that avenue.  (I also had a particular pair of glasses (extreme myopia in my case) for computer work.)  Cost is not particularly great, but it needs an eye professional's judgement as to whether it would be efficacious.  Lenses are a good overall solution, especially if you're likely to view different screens, but if your friend's condition is sufficiently advanced, it might not work.  I wish her well, whatever the resolution.

Hi techidave,

i'm an affecte person myself. I dont have macula degeneration though but suffering from Rethinopathia pigmentosa, which results in nearly the same needs for computer work (black background with bright foreground, big fonts and such).

My experience with flatscreens are, that they are worse from me because new big flatscreens come with gazillion of pixels in resolution. Even if they are big in inches this high resolution degrades the visibility again by displaying even big fonts very tiny. Also, most LED flats have a native resolution (very big) and if you change it to a lower resolution you end up with a blurry display. So for me i stay with tube screens (17" at the moment). But they are difficult to purchase nowadays and they need a lot more of space on desk of course, but if you can grab one i'd recommend such one. They are up to 21" or so in the normal consumer market.

Bigger is not always the solution though. In my case, i need to go very close to the screen with my eyes to see good enough. And when the screen is too big, i cant see the edges of the screen without moving my head left and right (because of the seeing angle which is constrained for my eyes too). Keep that in mind when deciding for a monitor size.

For the cursor. I dont see the idea behind a BLACK cursor with BLACK background. That is strange. Well the same problem occurs when you have a program that uses bright background and have a white cursor. My solution here is, using a multicolor, color-cycling cursor. That one is big and i can spot it everywhere on the screen, nevertheless which background it is on, because the bright colors (Red, blue, yellow) are moving all the time. So i can find the cursor even if i'm not sure, where on the screen it is located at the moment. If your friend is interested, i'd gladly share my curor with him. Just ring my bell.

If you want to get more of my experiences with other utils for visually impaired or blind or exchange informations about programs that are usable (color customizable) and all the other stuff concerning low vision and computer, just contact me again. Or point your friend to me, he is very welcome.

Just 2ct. of a self affected...HTH

Ok JoTo.  I didn't think my post out to well.  To be honest, I am now not sure what color her cursor is.   :-[  I know it has black on her big 17" laptop (XP) but it has white back ground.  On her smaller 10" laptop (Vista) it is black background so it is probably white there.  I believe that she would be interested in your cursor if you don't mind sharing.

I am not sure how she will feel about Windows  but she does have an open mnd about it.

one of the problems with the black background is in her Windows Live Mail desktop program.  If she creates a new mail, then the blackground is black and people cannot read it.  If she forwards or replies, it ignores her background and uses the original senders so its ok.  I have tried changing the settings on live but I only make it worse.


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