" ... It turned out it wasn't the larger point size, it was the "Universal Access: Never use font sizes smaller than (I had it set to 16)". ..."
Most sites would start to choke at 10. That setting is too high for most webpages. I think, with the mandatory re-encoding that Internet Explorer 8 will bring it might get worse as far as font size goes, not better.
However, it doesn't change the fundamental problem. Digital has spawned the tiny font size, and with that there are issues. It's not so bad on the web in comparison to packaged products. 6 and 4-point are common on many products today. The new trend of dual-layer labels, with grey type on silvery-white plastic, isn't a welcome improvement, in my opinion.
In the bad old days, someone had to set that type. That meant assembling the letters and spaces with tweezers if necessary. But, there was at least a physical limit as to how low you could go; if nothing else, it took more time, the type itself wore out quickly and inked poorly, and there were deadlines.
6-point type was almost unheard of anywhere; people would joke about it when it first began to appear on insurance contracts.
I still have very good near sight vision but most people begin to have problems with near vision sometime during their 40's, and that is normal.
Safari's 4 zoom feature is a neat, practical response to six point articles in yellow, green and red, on black. But, in the real world it's not going to help much.