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Vanessa Braimah, Joshua Robinson, Rob Chun, Walter M Jay; Usage of accessibility options for the iPhone/iPad in a visually impaired population. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):4151.
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The iPad and iPhone have a number of low vision accessibility features including Siri Voice Assistant, Large Text, Zoom magnification, Invert Colors, Voice Over, and Speech Selection. We studied their usage and preferences in a low vision population.
Thirty-three low vision patients responded to an IRB-approved survey regarding their usage of the iPad and/or iPhone (15 males, 18 females). Patients were eligible to participate if they were 18 years of age or older and met one of the following criteria: best corrected visual acuity worse than 20/60, central or significant peripheral visual field defects, or a combination of both. Patients with significant peripheral visual field defects were all tested on Goldmann perimetry and had monocular fields of less than 60 degrees. Participants were asked to rate the following: how frequently they use each feature, the reported benefit of using each feature, and their own self-assessed proficiency in using each feature.
The mean age of the respondents was 54.3 years, ranging from 26 to 87. There were 18 different diagnoses represented, with Stargardt disease (5), oculocutaneous albinism (4), retinitis pigmentosa (3), and retinal detachments (3) being the most common. Six of thirty-three (18%) patients owned an iPhone, twelve (36%) owned an iPad, and fifteen (45%) owned both devices. The average visual acuity of respondents was 20/119 in the right eye and 20/133 in the left eye. Twenty-one patients (64%) had reduced central visual acuity, six (18%) had peripheral visual field defects, and six (18%) had some combination of both. The most commonly used vision accessibility features were Large Text, with nineteen patients (58%), and Zoom Magnification, with eighteen patients (55%). The feature shown to be most beneficial was Large Text with 37% of users ranking it number one, while Speak Selection exhibited the lowest values for both proficiency and benefit of use with 42.8% of users ranking it in last place. Twenty-one patients (63%) were self-taught in the use of their device(s), four (12%) received clinical training, four (12%) received consumer training, and four (12%) utilized some combination of these methods. Five (15%) patients reported having the iPad or iPhone recommended to them by a healthcare professional.
Many low vision patients are using the accessibility features of iPad and/or iPhone when operating these devices.
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