Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vision Therapy Reader - A free vision therapy reading appliction

A few years ago, when I was learning computer programming, I practiced my skills by creating a text reader application. I wanted to make an electronic version of a bar reader. A bar reader is a vision therapy tool that forces you to use your eyes together when reading. You can see an example of a bar reader on this lovely vision therapy blog here.

I never got around to releasing my application because I was being a perfectionist and I never felt like it was quite done. It was never quite perfect. But now I've decided to release it, in case it can help someone. It certainly can't help anyone just sitting on my computer.

When I wrote this program, I didn't know anything about web programming. So it's not a web app; you can't play it in your browser. You have to download it. I'd like to eventually make it a web app, but until then...

 How to install and open Vision Therapy Reader
  1. Install Python
    • Vision Therapy Reader is written in Python (a computer programming language). To use it, you must have Python installed on your computer.
    •  There are two version of Python: Python 2 and Python 3. Choose whichever version you like - it doesn't matter for my program.
    • Python is available for many operating systems - Windows, Mac, etc... Theoretically, my program should work on Mac. But I've only been able to test it on Windows so far.
    • Download Python
  2. Download Vision Therapy Reader
  3. Unzip the file
  4. If you installed Python 2, open the python2 folder. If you installed Python 3, open the python3 folder.
  5. Click on
How to use Vision Therapy Reader
You need red/green or red/blue vision therapy glasses.

You need some text. You can paste your own text in, or load a text file (.txt). Both options are located in the FILE menu.

Pasting text
You also need to calibrate the application colors to your specific monitor and glasses. In the COLORS menu, click CALIBRATE COLORS.

Calibrating the colors

There are two palettes available - red/blue and purple/teal. BOTH work with red/green or red/blue glasses. Try both and see which works best for you.
Now that you're all set up, you can play around with the options.
 Bar reader
You can use the bar reader.
You can change the palette between red/blue and purple/teal.
You can change the width and spacing of the bars. You can make fat bars, thin bars, far bars, close bars, whatever your heart (or eyes) desire. You can also play with the font.
 Color reader

You can use the color reader, where instead of bars, uses colored text.

Like the bar reader, you can play with the palette and the font.

You can also change how to text is colored. The words can be different colors, or the individual letters can be different colors.

You can include an "anchor" color, which both eyes can see.

I hope someone out there finds this application helpful. Let me know if it helps you, or if you're using it in your VT office. I love to hear that stuff :)


  1. Not a web app but better.... you should make a web browser version(or a plugin for Chrome or Firefox etc)!!! So you could read all the websites in this way.

  2. Interesting, and valuable. Have not installed it, but looks good. Recall that amblyopia often brings problems of crowding, so text manipulation will be important: letter spacing, word spacing, line spacing. Look forward to seeing where you go with this. Will be happy to post something from this to

  3. Wow, this is really awesome. Thank you for making it public. I like how I can use the bars, or the change the colors of the letters.

  4. Thank you for building and releasing this. It is really cool. I was able to install it and get it working with my red green glasses. The slider made it easy to find the right colors. I like the two modes, and the ability to change fonts, widths, etc.

  5. This program is so helpful. It's exactly what I needed! Thank you for making it!

  6. Thank you for creating these tools. I use Mac OS X 10.10.4 (14E46). Python version 2 was installed by default.

    I was able to load the Vision Therapy Reader by doing the following:
    1) opening a terminal window
    2) switching to the directory that contained both and the "files" folder
    3) typing "python ./"
    4) hitting

    Alternately, I was able to create an automator script (so I could launch the Vision Therapy Reader by double-clicking on an icon) by doing the following:
    1) Launch Automator (type to bring up spotlight and type "automator")

    2) select the Application template
    3) type "script" in the search field
    4) double-click Run Shell Script
    5) switch the shell pop-up menu to /usr/bin/python
    6) copy the contents of to the clipboard
    7) paste the contents of into the text field
    8) Save as an application.