This study compared the effectiveness of a head-mounted video magnifier, low-vision enhancement system (LVES), with closed-circuit TV (CCTV) and large print as a device or means of improving reading performance in people with low vision.
The reading performance of ten low-vision participants was assessed in two ways: (1) By measuring reading speed as a function of print size with LVES and without LVES, and (2) by comparing reading speed and comprehension of news articles using the LVES vs. a popular non–head-mounted video magnifier, the CCTV.
Maximum reading speeds with LVES matched the maximum reading speeds with unaided vision attained by enlarging print. The critical print size (the smallest print size that could be read at maximum reading speed) improved significantly for all participants using LVES compared with unaided vision. When comparing reading performance using LVES and CCTV, we found that reading speed and comprehension for the two conditions were equivalent. The two low-vision participants with lowest acuities (20/640 and 20/960) could not read the 10-point newspaper articles with LVES, even with an 8 D auxiliary reading lens that permitted a very close reading distance.
Head-mounted video magnifiers, such as LVES, can support good low-vision reading performance, but the restricted range of magnification may limit the usefulness of the device as a reading magnifier for people with very low acuity.