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

US seniors' health poorest, global survey shows

3 hours ago

(HealthDay)— Seniors in America have more chronic health problems and take more medications than seniors in 10 other industrialized countries do, according to a new global survey. The United States also ...

New survey of employers about the health insurance market

5 hours ago

A new nationally representative survey of employers—the largest purchasers of health care in the country— shows that most are unfamiliar with objective metrics of health plan quality information. The survey, conducted ...

Running really can keep you young, study says

8 hours ago

If you are an active senior who wants to stay younger, keep on running. A new study involving the University of Colorado Boulder and Humboldt State University shows that senior citizens who run several times ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.