blue eyes starring at a computer screen

Reading online – Tools to help with eye fatigue

As we continue working more regularly with online documents some of us experience increases in eye fatigue, headaches, migraines, focus, and concentration issues.

Fortunately, we have a couple of great tools to help.  Both of these tools are available to everyone in the Swarthmore community – students, staff, and faculty.

Read Write

The first is TextHelp’s ReadWrite tool. Here is a quick summary of some of its features:

  • Listen to online text being read out loud
  • Convert text files to MP3 audio files
  • Screen masking to help with concentration
  • A built-in scanner that can transform PDFs into other formats such as Word and HTML.  It can also transform image-based PDFs to text-based PDFs** The quality and accuracy of the transformation is 100% dependent on the quality of the scan, the scan’s dpi, the amount of marginalia, etc

Read Write is available for both Mac and Window machines

BeeLine Reader

BeeLine Reader is our newest tool and is a browser plugin that works by adding color gradients to lines of text.  This technique helps reduce eye fatigue and increases focus.  In addition to color gradients, the tool allows you to customize online text further with several features including: 

  • Changing the font-size
  • Increasing line-height
  • Creating custom colors or choosing from several preset colors for the page’s color gradients

BeeLine Reader will work on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.  Supported browsers include Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. 

To learn more about BeeLine Reader, visit their BeeLine Reader website or see features in The Atlantic and on NPR.