Authors
Chung, Susana T. L

Dependence of Reading Speed on Letter Spacing in Central Vision Loss

publication date
March 26, 2012
Category
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Abstract/Introduction

Purpose

Crowding, the difficulty in recognizing a letter in close proximity with other letters, has been suggested as an explanation for slow reading in people with central vision loss. The goals of this study were (1) to examine whether increased letter spacing in words, which presumably reduces crowding among letters, would benefit reading for people with central vision loss and (2) to relate our finding to the current account of faulty feature integration of crowding.

 

Methods

Fourteen observers with central vision loss read aloud single sentences, one word at a time, using rapid serial visual presentation. Reading speeds were calculated based on the rapid serial visual presentation exposure durations yielding 80% accuracy. Letters were rendered in Courier, a fixed-width font. Observers were tested at 1.4× the critical print size (CPS), three were also tested at 0.8× CPS. Reading speed was measured for five center-to-center letter spacings (range: 0.5–2× the standard spacing). The preferred retinal locus for fixation was determined for nine of the observers, from which we calculated the horizontal dimension of the integration field for crowding.


Conclusion/Results

Results

All observers showed increased reading speed with letter spacing for small spacings, until an optimal spacing, beyond which reading speed either showed a plateau, or dropped as letter spacing further increased. The optimal spacing averaged 0.95 ± 0.06× [±95% confidence interval] the standard spacing for 1.4× CPS (similar for 0.8× CPS), which was not different from the standard. When converted to angular size, the measured values of the optimal letter spacing for reading show a good relationship with the calculated horizontal dimension of the integration field.

 

Conclusions

Increased letter spacing beyond the standard size, which presumably reduces crowding among letters in text, does not improve reading speed for people with central vision loss. The optimal letter spacing for reading can be predicted based on the preferred retinal locus.


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Testimonials


My eight year old daughter was terrified to go to the eye doctor for fear of her eyes being dilated. The doctor was SO KID friendly! He immediately made her comfortable by engaging her in conversation. It was a geat experience.


Joya B.

Dr. Garbus spent an amazing amount of time to solve my very complicated visual problems. Over the years he has continually achieved results beyond what others felt possible. He is always up to date on the latest science. He is great!


Dolores K.

Family Vision Care Valencia makes it so easy. Staff is knows what they are doing and Dr. Garbus is thorough and kept me well informed during the exam.


Kristy B.

I have been coming to Family Vision Center for almost 20 years. Dr. Garbus has been able to help my vision when other doctors could not. Now my kids see him as well. I highly recommend this office!


Autumn C.

The Doctor is very good. I felt on this visit he seemed rushed. I had questions to ask him but he was already with another patient. I still do not know if my eyes are the same , worse, or better.


Howard B.

All the staff is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and has been for all the years I have been going there.


Mary Ann H.
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