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Walter Wittich, Elliott Morrice, Aaron Johnson; Reading speed on the iPad for individuals with low vision depends on previous experience. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):1943.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Reading is a highly complex task that involves combining sensory motor inputs and linguistic comprehension. Individuals experiencing central field loss have been shown to read slower, and make more mistakes when reading in comparison to individuals with healthy vision. Previous research in low vision has shown that, with magnification, reading speed can be improved by up to 200%. Specifically, training and practice using a CCTV for reading have been shown to increase reading speed. However, little is known about the functionality of the Apple iPad as a low vision reading aid when compared to the current standard of care, such as the CCTV. In addition, no data are currently available on the effect of familiarity with the iPad on reading speed.
We asked 100 individuals (61 women) with low vision based on central visual field impairment (distance acuity 20/30 to 20/450; age range 27 to 97, median = 80.5) to read International Reading Speed Texts (IReST) with a CCTV (paper reading task) or through iBooks within an iPad Air (electronic task). Reading speed was recorded in words per minute (wpm). Previous experience with either device was noted.
When comparing reading speed between individuals with previous CCTV experience with that of those without previous access to a CCTV, no statistically significant differences were observed, (Mdifference = 1.569 wpm, p = .835, CI [-13.3118, 16.45], g = .04, g CI [-.37 - .45]). However, when comparing participants with previous experience on the iPad with those without, reading speed was significantly faster on those who had previously interacted with the device, (Mdifference = - 29.97 wpm, p = .005, CI [-50.76, -9.17], g = .67, g CI [.2, 1.1]).
The data indicate that previous device experience only influenced reading speed when using an iPad as compared to using a CCTV. However, data on the amount of training and/or previous exposure were not collected. It is possible that the difference in the type of reading tasks may partially be responsible for this incongruity, whereby the manipulation of paper-based reading material may limit speed improvement. The interaction with the iPad may initially slow the reading process down for novice users until the individual has gained familiarity. These findings raise interesting questions regarding the impact of experience and/or training with magnification aids.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.
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