In brief

May 2016   Comments

I spy with my little iPad

The proportion of adults over the age of 50 with age-related vision loss is estimated to be as high as one in three. Many of these individuals turn to adaptive devices designed to magnify objects and text, but these devices can be prohibitively expensive, uni-functional and bulky. A study described in Good Times magazine provides the first experimental evidence that the Apple iPad is as good as technology traditionally used in aiding individuals with visual impairment.

A research team from Concordia University and the University of Montreal recruited 100 participants who ranged in age from 24 to 97. A little over half the participants had age-related macular degeneration. The researchers used questionnaires and tests to gauge participants’ visual ability and then compared the iPad with two traditionally used magnification devices to see if reading rates varied across devices. They found that it didn’t matter what technology was used to do the magnification: an iPad worked just as well as a traditional device like a closed-circuit television system. Use of iPads could help reduce stigmatization, because individuals would no longer have to use a device that identified them as having an impairment or a disability.

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