Ashish Gangwar, B. Optom

Optometrist, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi, India


In this fast-moving world where independence is every individual’s priority, can we imagine surviving without our eyes? But they are visually impaired and doing their daily life activities without seeing clearly.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines visual impairment as the best-corrected visual acuity of less than 20/40 in the better eye, and the World Health Organisation defines it as a presenting acuity of less than 6/12 in the better eye and near visual acuity of less than N6. The term blindness is used for complete or nearly complete vision loss. Globally in 2020, an estimated 553 million people had a visual impairment and 43 million were blind (1). To help the visually impaired accomplish their daily activities some mobile and desktop applications are designed so that the visually impaired can do their daily task independently. With the dependence on technology, many have found independence for themselves.

1. JAWS: Job Access With Speech is the world’s most popular screen reader developed for computer users, whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse. A screen reader is a software program that enables a blind or visually impaired user to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesiser or braille display. It has a convenient OCR feature for image files or inaccessible PDF documents. It Supports PEARL Camera for direct access to Print documents or books.(2)

Figure 1: JAWS Software
Image Courtesy: (

2. Dragon Naturally Speaking: Dragon Naturally Speaking utilises speech recognition to create documents, reports, or messages simply by speaking. Nuance Text-to-Speech technology also reads an on-screen text in human-sounding synthesised speech. The user can create an email, schedule appointments, and search the Web or the desktop using simple voice commands. (3)

Figure 2: Dragon Naturally Speaking
Image Courtesy: (

3. NVDA: Non-Visual Desktop Access is a free and open-source screen reader for the Microsoft operating system. Via synthetic speech and Braille, it enables people who are blind, or vision impaired to access computers. Major features include support for over 20 languages and the ability to run entirely from a USB drive with no installation. (4)

Figure 3 : Non-Visual Desktop Access
Image Courtesy : (

4. Magic Screen Magnifier: It is a software meant for users with low vision. It can magnify text or images on a computer screen from 1-36X its normal size. Talking installation instructions allow for easy and independent installation. (5)

Figure 4: Magic Screen Magnifier
Picture Courtesy: (

5. Typio: Typio Typing Tutor is an accessible typing tutor software program designed by a Blind Rehabilitation Instructor for use by teachers of the visually impaired. For the student, it has guided instructions covering the entire keyboard along with fun sound effects and visual enhancements.

Three typing training modes:
a) Progress Mode – fully guided keyboard training;
b) Practice Mode – review past lessons or create your own;
c) Free Type Mode – type without prompting for a real-world test. (6)


Figure 5: Typio
Image Courtesy: (

6. Be My Eyes: This app connects blind and low vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a video call. With a connection established disabled can ask for help with whatever task is at hand. (7)

Figure 6: Be My Eyes
Image Courtesy: (

7. Roshni: It helps the visually impaired recognize old and new currency notes, using image processing and analytics. It utilises a deep learning framework, which further uses the patterns and features embedded in the notes to differentiate and determine the currency denomination.(8)

Figure 7: Roshni
Image Courtesy: (

The best advantage of this app is one doesn’t need eye care practitioners to learn to use this app. People who are aware of these applications can help those in need as each one of us as an individual must pick our own goals.



  1. GBD 2019 Blindness and Vision Impairment Collaborators Trends in prevalence of blindness and distance and near vision impairment over 30 years: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study
  2. “Introduction”. Retrieved October 10, 2017
  3. Sarnataro, Valerie (2012-11-08). “Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) 12 Review” Technology Guide. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
  4. “What’s New in NVDA”. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  5. Szuhaj, M., & Szatmari, P. (2016). Introducing Tools and Services Helping Life of People with Impaired Vision. In Neuro-Ophthalmology (pp. 689-703). Springer, Cham.
  6. Rathod, A. (2022). Currency Recognition App for Visually Impaired Users in India. In Human Work Interaction Design. Artificial Intelligence and Designing for a Positive Work Experience in a Low Desire Society: 6th IFIP WG 13.6 Working Conference, HWID 2021, Beijing, China, May 15–16, 2021, Revised Selected Papers (p. 201). Springer Nature.
  7. “Be My Eyes: Blinden Menschen per App zum Sehen erhelfen”Archived from the original on 2018-07-12.
  8. Sameer Mitha.  (2019-01-24). “Roshni, an Android app developed by IIT Ropar helps the visually impaired recognise Indian currency notes”.