Psychophysics of reading. III. A fiberscope low-vision reading aid

D. G. Pelli, G. E. Legge, M. M. Schleske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Existing reading aids providing magnification in excess of 6x (24 diopters) are awkward to use, expensive, or not portable. The authors have developed a new type of reading aid, a low-resolution fiberscope, that provides magnification up to 40x (160 diopters), and is easy to use, inexpensive, and portable. The fiberscope consists of an objective-lens assembly, a flexible bundle of optical fibers, and an eyepiece that together transmit an image from the page to the reader's eye. Complete construction details are included. The design is based on the authors' previous findings that reading requires a field of only four characters and a resolution of only 2 cycles/character. After only half an hour of training, a diverse group of low-vision readers read with the fiberscope at rates between 12 and 95 words/minute. Low-vision readers with central field loss had a median reading rate of only 18 words/min, whereas those with intact central fields had a median reading rate of 67 words/min, not far short of the median rate of 73 words/min for normal readers using the fiberscope. This is consistent with the authors' previous findings that low-vision readers with central field loss read much more slowly than those with intact central fields, even when optimal magnification is provided. The authors conclude that the fiberscope may be very useful as an inexpensive portable reading aid for people requiring high magnification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-763
Number of pages13
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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