Word Mode: a crowding-free reading protocol for individuals with macular disease


Central retinal loss through macular disease markedly reduces the ability to read largely because identification of a word using peripheral vision is negatively influenced by nearby text, a phenomenon termed visual crowding. Here, we present a novel peripheral reading protocol, termed Word Mode, that eliminates crowding by presenting each word in isolation but in a position that mimics its natural position in the line of text being read, with each new word elicited using a self-paced button press. We used a gaze-contingent paradigm to simulate a central scotoma in four normally-sighted observers, and measured oral reading speed for text positioned 7.5° in the inferior field. Compared with reading whole sentences, our crowding-free protocol increased peripheral reading speeds by up to a factor of seven, resulted in significantly fewer reading errors and fixations per sentence, and reduced both the critical print size and the text size required for spot reading by 0.2–0.3 logMAR. We conclude that the level of reading efficiency afforded by the crowding-free reading protocol Word Mode may return reading as a viable activity to many individuals with macular disease.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-19859-0
Dataset DOI: https://doi.org/10.17036/researchdata.aston.ac.uk.00000282
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Optometry
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Vision, Hearing and Language
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Centre for Vision and Hearing Research
Additional Information: Copyright: The Author(s) 2018. Open Access - This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Funding: donation from the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Object vision, Perception, Reading
Publication ISSN: 2045-2322
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 07:25
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 16:45
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.natu ... 598-018-19859-0 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2018-01-19
Accepted Date: 2018-01-08
Authors: Wallis, Stuart
Yang, Yit
Anderson, Stephen J. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-5719-2846)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

| Preview

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record