Scrolling text can be an effective reading aid for patients with central vision loss. English researchers recently discovered that increased inter-word spacing with dynamic, horizontally scrolling text may further improve the reading experience for this population. They note that this may be due to a reduction in the deleterious effects of visual crowding.

The team assessed the effects of inter-word spacing on reading performance (accuracy, memory recall and speed) using single sentences of scrolling text. They conducted two separate experiments to determine whether performance measures were affected by inter-word spacing of one, two and three characters and the rate at which text was presented.

They found that reading accuracy and memory recall were significantly enhanced with triple-character inter-word spacing, independent of the text presentation rate.

The study authors note that these findings “may be of particular interest to low-vision aid developers and visual rehabilitation practitioners.”

Harvey H, Anderson SJ, Walker R. Increased word spacing improves performance for reading scrolling text with central vision loss. Optom Vis Sci. July 16, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].