The MD_evReader App
The MD_evReader is a free app for the iPad or Android tablets, which has been developed to help people with a central vision loss read. It presents text from eBooks in a scrolling stream across the screen, in a similar way to a news ticker or a display board on a train. The app is designed for those people who use Eccentric Viewing (EV) and/or steady eye strategies for reading. Some people with macular degeneration may find it useful as a reading aid, or as a way of practicing the Eccentric Viewing and steady eye techniques.
The line of text scrolls horizontally from left to right and the reader aims to hold their gaze away from the line to view it with their best region of vision. The trackpad is used to control the speed of the text.
In order to read with the MD_evReader you might need to eccentrically fixate so that you have a good piece of vision through which you are able view the slowly scrolling text. Try holding your vision still (steady eye) and let the text move. Both Eccentric Viewing and the steady eye strategies take practice but can be well worth the effort. To find out more about Eccentric Viewing and steady eye strategies click here, and for more information about the app click here.
The app also allows users to enlarge text size, change text and background colour, alter the speed of scrolling text and use a moveable fixation point to aid Eccentric Viewing
The MD_evReader is intended for people with macular degeneration who use the Eccentric Viewing and/or steady eye strategies and may not be for everyone. Reading in this way will require some practice and familiarity with Eccentric Viewing. The app works with any ePub document but may not work with eBooks that are under copyright, due to publishers restrictions. The app will only upload eBooks that do not have ‘DRM’ encryption, such as out of copyright books and those from small publishers. You can find books from gutenberg.org or torbooks.co.uk or by searching for ‘DRM free eBooks’.
iPads, tablets and smartphones as low-vision aids
Devices such as iPads have many built-in functions such as zoom and text to speech that make them effective low vision aids.
Apps as low vision aids
There are a number of apps (many free) that further extend the basic capabilities of iPads, tablets and smartphones, including:
- TapTapSee (free) - uses the camera and voiceover to recognise text and objects
- VisionAssist (<£5) - uses the in-built camera as a magnifier
- BeMyEyes - connects you with volunteers who use live video link to answer questions