Glaucoma Patients May Prefer E-Readers Over Traditional Books

If you think that tablets are just for young people or the tech-savvy, think again! According to a recent study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, electronic devices like an iPad, Nook, Kindle, or other e-reader may be a better way for glaucoma patients to read a book. Because of the greater contrast and font size adjustments, individuals with glaucoma may find that reading a book on a digital device causes less eye strain than reading paper pages (Source: Ecot). Use caution when choosing your e-reader, though. E-readers that are backlit like the iPad and regular computer screens can still cause significant eye strain by decreasing blink rate and causing severe dryness, i.e. computer vision syndrome, says Medical Advisor Dr. Jeffery Taylor at the Eye Surgery Center of Paducah.

Glaucoma is a family of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve because of increased pressure in the eye. There is no cure for glaucoma, and glaucoma sufferers may not notice any changes in vision until significant eye damage has occurred. Known as the “sneak thief of sight,” open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma in the United States. Most often, there is no pain associated with the disease and very few symptoms. If glaucoma goes untreated, blindness will occur.

There are several medications and procedures that help keep eye pressure in a safe and acceptable range. Since there is no cure for glaucoma, managing the disease is important. Taking medications regularly and getting routine comprehensive eye exams are essential to prevent further vision loss. For those who have lost vision due to glaucoma, an e-reader may be the best solution for reducing eye strain. Glaucoma sufferers may read slower or be more likely to have decreased reading speed over time.

If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma and you love to read, you may want to try out an e-reader. You may find that using a digital device could actually reduce reading fatigue instead of increasing it. Electronics are often blamed for digital eye strain, but with proper use, an electronic device could actually be the solution to your problem!