Is there anything quite like the smell of a new book? The freshly cut pages, stiff binding and crisp cover just beg for an easy chair, cozy blanket and warm beverage to make a perfect evening. Even in the digital age of apps, texting, gaming and streaming, reading is still one of the most popular hobbies of Americans. For many who suffer from glaucoma, however, the luxury of reading can become a challenge that is not enjoyable anymore.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Although there are many types of glaucoma, all variations of the disease have a commonality: optic nerve damage due to increased pressure in the eye. There is no cure for glaucoma, and any vision loss associated with glaucoma is irreversible.
After glaucoma is diagnosed, the main goal is to safely manage intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eye) so no further vision loss occurs. Losing vision can cause frustration and depression, so anything that can be done to increase independence and self-sufficiency in a glaucoma patient is positive and welcome.
According to a recent study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, an e-reader like an iPad, Kindle or Nook may be the key to a glaucoma patient re-”kindling” a love of reading. E-readers offer something that regular books do not—greater contrast and font-size adjustments. Whether you need a brighter screen or larger print, an e-reader offers capabilities that paper books cannot achieve (Source: Ecot).
Special apps are being developed now to accompany e-readers, and hopefully these new products will allow glaucoma sufferers to read more comfortably. Tablets, smartphones and computer screens have received heavy criticism for causing conditions such as digital eye strain, which is characterized by eye fatigue, neck pain, dry eye and headaches. Used properly, though, tablets can help glaucoma patients resume one of their favorite hobbies. It may be time to invest in some new technology!