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iPads benefit those with low vision

Patients who suffer from conditions like macular degeneration can suffer a loss in central vision and must rely on reading aids such as expensive and cumbersome magnifiers with attached lights to aid in reading. But a new study offers a "ray of light" for these patients by revealing that devices such as iPads and Kindles may actually help patients to read more comfortably. A study which involved 100 participants evaluated reading from three book formats: traditional print, iPad and Kindle. Participants read a chapter from each of these. The chapter was read twice on the iPad and Kindle; once using a 12 point font and then an 18 font the second time. What researchers discovered is that reading speed was increased by 42 words-per-minute (wpm) in the 18 font setting on the iPad compared to reading the printed version. Reading on the Kindle resulted in an increased reading speed of 12 wpm. The average increase in wpm for those with modest vision loss was 15 wpm. Researchers attribute the improved reading speeds to the back-lit screens which allow for greater contrast and for the words to appear sharper. There was also a correlation between the patient's extent of vision loss and their preferred reading method. People who had the poorest vision had more success using the iPad while those with better vision preferred reading print. Researchers hope that the results of this study will encourage those with impaired vision to take advantage of these devices to allow them to continue to read and read more easily.*

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