Many of us may not recognize how precious the ability to read is until we start to experience vision loss. A recent study shows hope for people suffering central vision loss, such as occurs with age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. It seems digital tablets, including the iPad and Amazon Kindle, help people with vision loss read faster and easier.
The study was carried out at New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The study author and his team asked the 100 participants to read on digital tablets. All 100 participants had lost some degree of central vision, which is what you see straight ahead of you. Certain diseases, namely macular degeneration, degrade central vision so that you no longer see clearly or sharply in front of you.
Using digital tablets, the study participants read faster compared to reading print. They read faster by an average of 15 words per minute. With Apple’s iPad, participants read faster by a rate of 42 words per minute, and by a rate of 12 words more per minute with Amazon’s Kindle. Reading improvement was greatest among those with 20/40 vision or worse.
The team conducting the study, including the lead author Dr. Daniel Roth, attributes the improved reading from the iPad to its backlit screen. At the time, the Kindle was not backlit, but current Kindle models are. The study was presented at a joint meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.
Depending on the size, storage capacity and brand of the device, tablets right now cost anywhere from $200 to close to $1,000.
To learn more about treatments for vision loss, please find an eye doctor through the eyes.com directory.