Low Vision Patients Benefit from E-Readers
Several reports have shown patients with low vision benefit from use of E-readers and tablets. Low vision is the phrase applied to patients with decreased vision, 20/70 or worse, that cannot be corrected with conventional glasses or contact lens. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy are common conditions leading to low vision. Low vision aids including video magnifiers (CCTVs) increase magnification and contrast. However the cost of these units may prevent access for some patients. As mobile tablets continue to improve, low vision patients can benefit from the adjustable magnification and contrast features on these tablets. For example, when patients with AMD used Apple’s iPad compared to traditional print, patients were noted to have increased reading speeds and quality of life. There may be an initial hesitation to introduce mobile tablets to elder patients with AMD as a result of unfamiliarity with such products; however these tablets may significantly help with reading tasks. Of course, for anyone having undiagnosed vision loss or low vision, prompt evaluation by an eye care provider is essential to address potentially treatable eye disease.
Chirag V. Patel, MD