Improving reading aids for those with macular conditions

MDevReader in use on tablet

Dr Dirk Seidel, Glasgow Caledonian University - £23,396

Macular damage impairs the ability to scan text. A healthy eye has pauses in the scanning process and this improves reading speed, accuracy and the overall pleasure in reading. This project will try to improve reading apps by mimicking these natural features of the eye.

What is the problem?

Damage to the macula means the ability to scan text is impaired. Healthy eyes scan text using regular pauses which gives the brain time to assimilate information. This leads to better accuracy, less feeling of stress and much more enjoyment for the reader.

Eccentric viewing (EV), whether used on printed text or a reading app, relies on moving the visual image onto a healthy part of the retina. This does not address the problem of poor eye-movement control when not using the macular. Steady eye strategy techniques require the suppression of natural eye movements and text scanning patterns during the reading process. This leads to an unnatural reading experience, with reduced reading speed, accuracy and enjoyment for the reader.

What are they doing?

This research will investigate whether reading apps can be improved by simulating the natural pauses in scanning of a healthy eye.

How can this help?

Reading will become a more enjoyable and productive experience for users of reading apps.

Professor Luminita Paraoan and her team, University of Liverpool

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Since 1987 the Macular Society has invested around £10 million in over 100 research projects.

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Beating macular disease through funding medical research and improving the lives of those living with macular disease.