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Alex Zemke, Danielle Irvine, John Coalter, Walter Jay; iPad vs Closed Circuit Television Low Vision Reading Rates and Preferences. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2749.
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Accessibility features of tablets such as the Apple iPad have revolutionized reading rehabilitation for low vision patients. These features include system wide zoom and high reversible contrast. We compared subjective preference as well as reading rates on the Apple iPad and a closed circuit television (CCTV).
After IRB approval, fourteen low vision patients, 18 years and older, were recruited with visual acuity ranging from 20/50 to 20/200 and minimal prior experience with an iPad or CCTV. Objective data collection involved calculating reading rates from a newspaper article and a book. Patients read both media for two minutes on each device at their preferred zoom, and a third time on the CCTV with the zoom matched to the iPad’s angle of resolution. Physical copies were provided to be used on the 24 inch Optelec Clearview CCTV and electronic copies were acquired for the third generation iPad. Upon conclusion of the reading assignments, patients were surveyed with a questionnaire concerning subjective comfort, performance and preference. Paired t-test with Bonferroni adjustment was used to compare reading rates. A chi squared analysis was used for preference responses.
The mean age of the subjects was 62.7 (Std Dev = 13.4) years and the range was 35 to 91. There were 9 different diagnoses, with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (5) and glaucoma (2) being the most common. The mean acuity was 20/108 and the range was 20/50 to 20/200. Twelve of 14 subjects (85.7%) chose the iPad for overall reading preference (mean age 59.3, mean acuity 20/110). The other two subjects preferred the CCTV (mean age 83.5, mean acuity 20/100). Faster reading rates of the newspaper with the CCTV at both the patient's preferred zoom and constant angle of resolution to the iPad were statistically significant (p = 0.0047 and 0.0080 respectively), while there was no statistical significance between the CCTV and iPad reading rates with the book.
Despite equal or slower reading rates with the iPad, patients' subjective preference was in favor of the iPad. Patients' primary reasons for preference of the iPad were portability, ease of navigation, and added versatility. Considering these reasons in addition to lower cost and improved social acceptance, tablets, such as the iPad, should be considered in the reading rehabilitation of visually impaired patients.
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