LEE COUNTY, Fla. - People of all ages can't put down their smart phones or tablets. And now, people who struggle to see are no longer the exception.
"To me it's just the greatest thing in the whole wide world. I'm totally blind and i can text!" said Sandy Martin, her fingers flying across the screen of her iPhone.
"A lot of tapping and a lot of turning of pages. It's not like I could pick this up with no sight and know how to run this," she said.
Martin has been blind since her early 20's. She says enrolling in Assistive Technology classes at Lighthouse of SWFL have opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
"It's an ongoing process," she said, "Everyday it seems like I learn something new with the iPhone. There's a lot of applications, a lot of programs."
Programs help the visually impaired identify color, read money and navigate using zoom features, voice-over applications and even a compass.
"It's amazing to see them come in and say 'I'm so frustrated. I can't use this thing. How can I make this work for me?' said instructor Crystle Barrs, "Then we show them the features and they're just blown away!"
Student Patti Davis has Myopic Degeneration. She said, "Right now I don't see your face, I look through a cloud all the time."
Davis is taking iPad classes so she can email and play online poker.
"The iPad is really good for me because I can see it better than I can read a magazine or read a newspaper because I can enlarge the font, change the background color," Davis said.
Classes are free. Thanks to a $15,000 grant, students are able to take the technology out for a test drive. Call Lighthouse of SWFL to enroll. Classes run 6 to 8 weeks.