Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.

 

Digital tablets help those with vision loss to read

12 November 2012, 13:38

USA - People who have eye diseases that damage their central vision can regain the ability to read quickly and comfortably by using digital tablets, according to a recent study.

The research found that people with moderate vision loss could increase their reading speed by 15 words-per-minute, on average. Using a tablet with a back-lit screen resulted in the fastest reading speeds for all study participants, no matter what their level of visual acuity. The research is being presented at the 116th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, jointly conducted this year with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.

Millions of people affected

Loss of central vision affects millions of people who have eye diseases such as macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, which damage the light-sensitive cells of the eye's retina. The retina relays images to the optic nerve, which transmits them to the brain. When treatments such as eyeglasses, medications, or surgery are no longer effective, ophthalmologists – eye medical doctors and surgeons – help patients maximise their remaining sight by using low-vision aids.

Before digital tablets came along, reading aids were limited to lighted magnifiers, which are cumbersome and inconvenient by comparison.

In the study, which was conducted at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, researchers found that all of the 100 participants gained at least 42 words-per-minute (WPM) when using the iPad™ tablet on the 18-point font setting, compared with reading a print book or newspaper. A more modest gain of 12 WPM, on average, was achieved by all subjects when using the Kindle™ tablet set to 18-point font. Patients with the poorest vision - defined as 20/40 or worse in both eyes- showed the most improvement in speed when using an iPad or Kindle, compared with print.

The researchers believe the iPad's back-illuminated screen is the key to the significantly improved reading speed achieved by patients with moderate vision loss. The vision factor involved is called contrast sensitivity, which means being able see an object as separate and distinct from its background and to discern shades of gray. Loss of contrast sensitivity is common in people with low vision. The high word/background contrast provided by a back-lit screen is a big plus for such patients. The original Kindle, which used in this study, does not have a back-lit screen.

'Comfortable reading'


The study also assessed low vision patients' comfort while reading and found that their preferred mode was linked to their degree of vision loss. People with the worst vision found the iPad most comfortable, while those with the best vision preferred print. This information will be useful to ophthalmologists in advising patients with various degrees of vision loss.

"Reading is a simple pleasure that we often take for granted until vision loss makes it difficult," said Daniel Roth, M.D., an associate clinical professor at Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine who led of the study. "Our findings show that at a relatively low cost, digital tablets can improve the lives of people with vision loss and help them reconnect with the larger world."

(EurekAlert, November 2012)

- Health24

NEXT ON NEWS24 KENYAX
Share Print

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
William Korir
Insecurity, corruption blight Jub...

Insecurity and corruption have been mentioned by the opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy CORD as the biggest ills of the Jubilee government. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Police investigate yet another bo...

A vehicle suspected to be filled with explosive devices has been abandoned in Nairobi's Juja road, the second incident of note in the same area in the last 24 hours. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Supreme Court blocks Othaya by-el...

The Supreme Court has stopped the upcoming Othaya by-election pending a court case challenging the elections. Read more...

Submitted by
MyNewsKenyaEd
Airtel and Manchester United Socc...

The Airtel and Manchester United Soccer Clinic kicked off at Azam Complex, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Read more...

Submitted by
MyNewsKenyaEd
President Kenyatta returns from Q...

President Uhuru Kenyatta jetted back into the country from Doha, Qatar where he was on a three-day State visit. Read more...

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
Security chiefs faulted for risin...

Security chiefs in Busia County have been faulted for insecurity in the County which has been on a stiff rise even after receiving 24 patrol vehicles from the County government. Read more...