Smartphones a big help to visually impaired

May 16, 2012

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.

Explore further: Mood, cognition and sleep patterns improve in Alzheimer's patients after cataract surgery

Related Stories

The Medical Minute: Hope for those with vision loss

February 27, 2012

One of the most difficult things optometrists and ophthalmologists must tell a patient is that he or she has an eye disease that already has or could permanently rob them of their vision. Today, the most common diseases in ...

Recommended for you

Big Data can save lives, says leading cancer expert

May 16, 2016

The sharing of genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could be key to revolutionising cancer prevention and care, according to a leading cancer expert from Queen's University Belfast.

New soap to ward off malaria carrying mosquitoes

May 13, 2016

(Medical Xpress)—Gérard Niyondiko along with colleagues Frank Langevin and Lisa Barutel has posted a project on the crowd source funding site ulule for a product called Faso Soap. They claim the soap can cut in half the ...

0 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.