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

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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TOPICS: Health, iPad
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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

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  • iPad

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    Andika Candra
  • Yay....

    ...for 10-inch, backlighted screens!
    Userama
  • Nice advert for a 10-inch iPad, James

    Here's a link:

    http://www.biomedreports.com/20121111112609/digital-tablets-improve-speed-and-ease-of-reading-for-people-with-moderate-vision-loss.html

    The conclusion: “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.”

    It just so happened that the study included an Apple iPad (version unreported, but most likely a 10-inch), Kindle™ tablet (version unreported, but most likely a 7-inch) and paper (printed books and newspapers). The iPad mini was only recently released and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet is currently available for pre-order and will begin shipping during the week of December 3, 2012 (it was scheduled for release in mid-November).

    So, for people with moderate vision loss, a 10-inch tablet is superior to a 7-inch tablet and paper documents. One wonders what the results would have been had a 9- or 10-inch Android, Android derivative or Windows RT tablet had been included.

    James, you turned a scientific study into an iPad advertisement.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Very good point.

      I happen to like ipad. However I can't see how it offers any real advatntage in this field over it's competition; sure it has ibooks, but lets be honest you'd probably be using the kindle app anyway. In that case ipad's supposed advantage surely reduces towards nil. It is thinner and lighter than its competition, but once you move away from base storage models it quickly becomes twice the price.

      Now i won't make any secret of prefering ios's interface to androids... But in this test it's irrelivant plus it's not worth the loss in features and price hike. The 7 inches do have another advantage in my experience; much more comfortable in extended reading sessions. The only disadvantage in larger fonts are you flip the page more often.

      Ipad may be better ratio'd for books than say a surface, but there is no advantage any of them really have when it comes to reading surely; it's always the same app?!

      Ios may however be slightly ahead in accessability features, however neither platform underperforms and it would be user by user what they need.

      By contrast if anyone regardless of disability wants a 7" reader, i really would advise against the ipad mini; the side boarders are two thin making it uncomfortable in it's native portraitmode... Plus that display isn't helping anyone's eyes.

      If money's no object and this is your goal on 10" i'd probably go ipad... If it's 7" i'd wait for the mobile nexus. Can't say fairer than that!
      MarknWill
      • iOS setting for handicapped

        iOS also got some nice settings for handicapped or completely blind people. Siri can also be of use if you have trouble to see.
        Oden79
    • No, contrast more than size matters

      My information came directly from the folks behind the study. The conclusion was that the contrast offered by a backlit display was the primary difference in the iPad outperforming the Kindle without backlight in the study. That's exactly what I reported.
      JamesKendrick
      • Don't worry

        James - good reporting but you'll always have people complaining that you're being a fanboy of one sort or another on anything related to Apple!
        jamboy34
      • RE: No, contrast more than size matters

        From the article:
        "The improvement of reading ability on the iPad was the result of setting the font to 18-points ... 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.

        There appear to be two factors at work here:

        1. a larger font size
        2. a backlit display

        With a larger tablet, there is more viewable text displayed while using a larger font size. Whether the display is backlit is not a function of display size. Thus, one could expect the iPad to be superior to either the Barnes & Noble Nook Color or the Google Nexus 7, both 7-inch tablets with backlit displays. However, would the iPad be superior to the Google Nexus 10, a 10-inch tablet with a backlit display?
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • iPad brings back the joy of reading...

    Thank you James. I will confirm that the iPad has helped me to continue reading. My vision degraded to "legally blind" in 2010 but before that I knew that the iPad was going to help me read better and the back-lit screen was the significant feature. People asked me about using a Kindle but I shared that the back light was critical as my eyes needed the extreme contrast. I skipped the 2nd generation of iPad and when the Retina display was revealed, I noticed the difference right away and I grabbed one. I share these results all the time with my Retina Specialists in hopes that more people will enjoy what I do...the ability to read more instead of just pass because reading got too difficult.
    Thank you.
    henselj@...
  • Shame they forgot about outside reading.

    Back-light of any type makes that near impossible. While we are at it, being that I'm an avid reader (and have always had bad eyes, wearing glasses since I was 7) since when is speed and important issue re general novel reading? As long as you can read with out a problem and enjoy the book all is good.

    To give an example in the last 2 months I've re-read the Dune series wrtten by Frank Herbert (6 books) and just finished last night the first book in the Inheritance Cycle using both paper back and E-Book on my now Windows 8 11.6" tablet. So have a little expereince at real world reading with bad eyes. (Ok with glasses, just but legally blind with out them)
    martin_js