Smartphones a big help to visually impaired

iPhones and other smartphones can be a huge help to the visually impaired, but few vision doctors are recommending them to patients, according to a study co-authored by a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine ophthalmologist.

Researchers surveyed 46 low-vision adults from the Chicago Lighthouse and the Spectrios Institute for Low Vision in Wheaton, Ill. Participants' best-corrected vision ranged from 20/70 to complete .

Researchers found that only 15 percent of patients reported that a vision doctor had recommended smartphones for the devices' accessibility features.

Eleven of the 46 patients (24 percent) used smartphones. Their average age was 36. Thirty patients (65 percent) used basic cell phones; their average age was 67. Five patients (11 percent) did not own any cell phones.

"Young, visually impaired patients are getting ahead of their doctors," said Loyola Dr. Walter M. Jay, senior author of the study, which was presented at the 2012 ARVO Annual Meeting. "Low-vision specialists should be getting out in front on this, rather than being behind the curve."

Jay said these are among the accessibility features that smartphones offer to the visually impaired:

  • Font sizes can be increased to as large as 56 pt., enabling users with very poor vision to text and email.
  • The screen can be brightened considerably.
  • GPS and voice features help the visually impaired to navigate.
"Smartphones can dramatically improve the quality of life of people with ," Jay said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New device puts vision impaired in the picture

Apr 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Visually impaired people may soon have greater access to graphical information thanks to a new device developed by Monash University’s Faculty of Information and Technology.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments