Assessing alternative text presentation and tablet device usage for low vision leisure reading

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Gannon, Erin
Suss, Joel M.

Low vision affects approximately 246 million people worldwide. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of low vision in developed countries, and the incidence is expected to rise in the next decade (World Health Organization, 2014). The most frequently cited complaint by individuals with vision loss is difficulty reading (Rubin, 2013). A loss of recreational activities like reading has been linked to reduced quality of life and depression in this population (Hazel, Latham, Armstrong, Benson, & Frost, 2000; Rovner & Casten, 2002). It is therefore imperative that research examines avenues through which those with low vision can continue to read for pleasure with minimal frustration. In a series of three studies, the present research examines reading satisfaction and low vision aid (LVA) use. Study 1 concerns reading satisfaction of low vision and normally sighted readers using a tablet computer. This study compared five variations of presenting text on the screen, and subjective measures of preference and satisfaction were emphasized. Study 2 takes a more applied approach to explore the use of three of the five presentations used in Study 1 over time. Study 3 is a survey that extends the findings of Studies 1 and 2 by measuring aspects of reading device awareness, training, satisfaction, and use among a larger sample of low vision readers. Results from Studies 1 and 2 suggest improved perceptions of alternative text formats over time, the potential value of tablet devices, and emphasize the role of enjoyment in reading. Study 3 suggests that tablets and e-readers may be under-represented in low vision rehabilitation.

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Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology