Can tablets help those with “low vision” read better?

tablet helps low visionTablets are popular; this much you know. But did you know that tablets with backlit screens can help people with “low vision” read faster and easier?

A recent study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine showed that devices like iPads and Kindles can increase a reader’s speed by up to 42 words-per-minute when set to 18-point font, compared to reading print. And people with the poorest vision showed the most improvement in speed.

Low vision” refers to those people who have trouble reading, using a computer, or performing other daily activities despite glasses, contacts, medication or surgery.

Diseases like macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy cause a loss of central vision by damaging the light-sensitive cells of the eye’s retina. Because these cells play a key roll in the transmission of images to the brain, impairment can make reading slow or cumbersome.

Furthermore, people with low vision often lose the ability to see an object stand out from its background. The backlight on tablets can increase contrast sensitivity and lead to clearer vision.

If someone you know suffers from macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or other diseases that impair vision, consider a backlit tablet. As always, consult with your physician if you have any questions about eye disease, and make sure to have regular eye exams at least every two years.