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Macular Degeneration Sufferers Can Read Books Again through New App!

Submitted by on March 19, 2013 – 6:50 PM

Macular DegenThe most detailed central vision in our eyes is provided by the macula, the central region of the retina. Gradual degradation of the retina can cause macular degeneration. It causes sufferers to lose sight from the centre of their field of vision, making it difficult to focus on detail, especially large chunks of text. Over time this degeneration enlarges, leaving people with severe sight problems.


Researchers at Royal Holloway University, UK have developed a system that allows the sufferers to use their peripheral vision to read instead. It’s a software that converts electronic books into a single line of continuously scrolling text, allowing people with macular degeneration to read.


Professor Robin Walker, from the department of psychology at Royal Holloway University, London who was the lead developer of the software said: “At the back of the eye, the outside edges of the retina detect changes in visual field while the centre focuses on detail. Scrolling text across a screen aids the ability to see it in the peripheral vision, which means people with macular disease can read more easily.”


Professor Walker has created a free app for the iPad, known as “The MD_evReader app” to help sufferers read books. It automatically converts epub documents (used to create electronic books) into the software’s required format. The app then causes text in large, brightly coloured letters to scroll across the screen at an adjustable speed. If required, the text can be made to appear even larger by connecting the iPad to a television screen.


The goal is to allow people with macular degeneration to read books on their own again.Volunteers who have been involved in testing the app have largely reported that the experience of reading was greatly improved with this system.



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