iPad app in development to help with macular degeneration
Posted by Matt Wall
I’ve written before about iPad apps useful for vision research, but I’ve just come across a new vision-related app, so new in fact that it’s still in the development/testing phase. It’s been produced by my old Colleague Prof. Robin Walker at Royal Holloway University and is designed as a rehabilitative tool for people with Macular Degeneration (MD).
Age-related MD is by far the most common form of blindness/vision-loss in people over 50, and involves degeneration of the visual sensitivity of the centre portion of the retina – the part of the eye which has the highest density of rods and cones. This makes tasks such as reading and recognising faces more and more difficult as the condition progresses. One way of mitigating the effects is to try and use portions of the retina which are less affected, i.e. the periphery. For reading, the ‘eccentric-vision’ and ‘steady-eye’ techniques involve fixating at a point and then moving the text through areas of the visual field which are less affected. These techniques require some practice to counteract the natural tendency to make eye-movements when reading, and it’s this training process that the app is intended to help with.