Another example of how technology is helping improve patients lives.

 Photo from the unveiling of the iPad by Steve Jobs ( 4/5/2010)

Macular Degeneration is
a fairly common visual problem with our aging population, approximately
10% of people over 65, and a whopping 30% over the age of 75, present with some
stage of the disease. 
Macular degeneration,
along with other diseases, can cause loss of central vision, which makes it
difficult to read. Until now, people relied on cumbersome lighted magnifiers,
of some type, to read.
“Reading is a
simple pleasure that we often take for granted until vision loss makes it
difficult,” says Dr. Daniel Roth, associate clinical professor at Robert
Wood Johnson school of Medicine. “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.”
Digital tablets such as
iPads and Kindles can boost reading speed in people who have eye diseases that
damage their central vision.
Researchers looked at
100 people with central vision loss and found that their reading speed
increased by at least 42 words per minute when they used the iPad on the
18-point font setting, compared to reading a print book.
Their reading speed
increased by an average of twelve words per minute when they used the Kindle
tablet set to 18-point font. 
Patients with the poorest
vision, (20/40 or worse in both eyes), showed the most improvement in reading
speed when using the tablets, compared with print books or newspapers.
The high degree of
contrast between words and the back-lit screen on the iPad is the reason people
using that device had such a major increase in reading speed. The original
Kindle used in this study does not have a back-lit screen.
So, until we can grow
new eyes, it looks like digital tablets will replace the expensive and
cumbersome aids we used until now.


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