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iPad Helps Legally Blind Mom See Kids’ Faces for First Time in 30 Years



An Boston-area woman is using an iPad to see her kid’s faces for the first time in over 30 years. Evelyn O’Brien suffers from Macular degeneration and is legally blind.

Mrs. Obrien hasn’t been able to see her five children’s faces because disease makes it difficult or impossible to see objects in the middle of the field of view. Peripheral vision is not affected. The disease affects over 10 million people in the United States alone.

iPad gives sight to legally blind woman:

Mrs. Obrien realized she could read her daughter’s iPhone. Her children brought her an iPad and she calls it an ‘eye opener.’ The bigger display allows her to zoom in on text and images. She’s now able to read, browse the web and zoom in on her kids’ faces.

Apple’s often criticized for using hyperbole in its marketing activities. But it’s stories like this one that keep me from criticizing Apple’s over the top ads too much. Magical and revolutionary? I think the O’briens would agree…

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of blind people benefitting from iOS devices. While Mrs. O’Brien is blind, Joshua Miele, a Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute scientist based in San Francisco is completely blind. He demonstrates how the iPhone makes it possible for him to communicate, work and get around more effectively in the above video.

Miele points out that the iPhone replaces a shopping cart full of assistive gadgets. Mrs. O’Brien’s doctor made a similar observation, pointing out that there are expensive gadgets that can assist Macular degeneration patients, but they are not mobile.

via WWPL



  1. Markp

    05/16/2011 at 6:12 am

    Is there something unique about the iPad screen that enables this or would any tablet device (including the 10 year old Tablet PC) have made this possible? 

    • Xavier Lanier

      05/16/2011 at 5:16 pm

      From what I understand, iOS’s accessibility features are really good. I’ve never used them myself, but I was told that iOS is the smartphone of choice amongst the visually impaired. I imagine that the iPad follows the same lines. 

  2. Anonymous

    05/17/2011 at 1:50 am

    I’m very happy for the woman to find some way to make her life more enjoyable and regain something disease has taken from her.
    But I am really not clear on what the claim is for apple here – is that they invented LCD screens or zooming?
    Because you could have done what is described here 10 years ago on a pc.. or for that matter on a mac, I’m sure.

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