Practical Tips for Playing Card Games After Vision Loss
- Check the lighting. If you have low vision, make sure that the lighting in your playing area provides sufficient illumination. You can read more about lighting here. A lamp with an adjustable flex-arm or gooseneck is usually a good choice because you can adjust the direction of the light as needed. A flex-arm floor lamp on wheels is another good option. If possible, also try to choose a seat where there is shadow-free natural or artificial light.
- Use a low vision device. Talk with your eye doctor or low vision specialist to determine if a low vision device, such as a chest or around-the-neck magnifier or a magnifier mounted on a flexible gooseneck stand, can be helpful for card and board games. For more information about low vision devices and training, see What Is A Low Vision Examination?, Low Vision Optical Devices, Non-Optical Devices, and Vision Rehabilitation Services.
- Use a card holder. It will provide you with an “extra hand” and enable you to use a magnifier or simply spread your cards apart for better viewing. You can find a card holder through specialty catalogs.
- Use solid colors as backgrounds to make the playing cards “stand out.” Avoid the use of table coverings with patterns, prints, or stripes.
- Place light-colored objects on a darker background; for example, a white playing card is more visible against a dark placemat or table covering.
- You can learn more about modifying all areas of your home at Home Modifications and Room by Room.
- For more information about preparation and adaptations for card and board games, see Card and Board Games for Players with Vision Loss.
Adaptations: Large Print or Braille Playing Cards
- CAN-DO Bold Numbers Playing Cards are poker-sized playing cards with bold numbers measuring 5/8″ high and slightly wider than numbers on standard and low vision cards. The red numbers and suits are outlined in black to increase the contrast with the white background.
- Brailled 100% All-Plastic Playing Cards are durable plastic playing cards with 1/2″ high print numbers with braille overlays. Each card measures 3 1/2″ x 2 1/4″.
- EZC Playing Cards have 1 1/4″ high numbers. The hearts and diamonds have deep red backgrounds and the spades and clubs have black backgrounds. Both have crisp white numbers and suit markers.
- Low Vision Playing Cards with Colored Suits have 1 1/2″ high numbers and letters and each suit is a different color: spades are black, hearts are red, diamonds are green and clubs are blue. Each card measures 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.
- Marinoff Low Vision Playing Cards were designed by ophthalmologist Gerald Marinoff, MD. They have 1 1/4″ high numbers, and each number is outlined in black to make it “stand out.”
- Braille UNO Cards have braille markings, large print, and bright colors.