Monday, February 18, 2013

Visual Impairment and Reading

We take care of may people who have various degrees of visual impairment. The most common of these is Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD. People with AMD typically have more difficulty with their distance vision than they do up close, but as it gets worse it can start to affect their ability to read. In the earlier stages of AMD the best visual aid for reading is a very good reading light! We still like Halogen lamps because they have a very bright, flat white light. Some of the newer LED lights are also very good (we do NOT like any of the mini-fluorescent bulbs for reading at all).

The introduction of all of the electronic readers has been simply marvelous for all kinds of visually-related reading problems. You no longer have to seek out large print versions of books, magazines, or newspapers. Now you just increase the size of the print on your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, or iPad. Most of the e-Readers still require a good light source. If you are using a Kindle or Sony Reader, for example, you should still try to find a nice Halogen lamp to use when you are reading.

There is now some very good research that shows that an e-Reader that is BACKLIT allows people who have a visual impairment like AMD to read faster and more accurately. The Apple iPad is the best known. and probably most versatile of the backlit readers. We have had great feedback from those patients who have taken our advice and tried the iPad. Over the next several months the SkyVision staff will be test-driving the iPad apps that are designed to help folks with AMD read better.

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