iPad: Bringing the joy of reading back to those with vision problems

Summary:A new study investigating the use of electronic reading devices shows that using the iPad for reading brings the joy of that pastime back to those with vision loss due to disease.

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Many of us with normal vision appreciate the use of tablets like the iPad as electronic readers. A new study presented today at the American Academy of Opthalmology's annual meeting shows the iPad signficantly helps those with moderate vision loss regain the joy of reading.

The research covered the use of different electronic devices for reading by those with vision loss from diseases such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. While other ereaders such as the Kindle helped those affected to read better than using paper sources, the iPad consistently produced a faster read rate than the Kindle.

The study was conducted at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and found that all 100 patients gained 42 words-per-minute over printed books and newspapers while using the iPad as a reading device.

The improvement of reading ability on the iPad was the result of setting the font to 18-points. Patients only gained a 12 words-per-minute gain while using the Kindle reading device. In addition to the ability to use a bigger font, backlighting is believed to play a big role in the iPad's assistance for reading as the more modest gain of the Kindle was acheived while using Kindles without a backlight.

The information provided didn't mention if iPads with Retina Display were used in the research but that could be a factor if so. Text appears very crisp and clear on the Retina Display which would probably be a factor.

“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 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.”

 

Topics: Health, iPad

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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