Original Research

An analysis of print sizes of South African newspapers in relation to prescription of reading devices for low vision patients

A.O. Oduntan
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 64, No 2 | a220 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v64i2.220 | © 2005 A.O. Oduntan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 December 2005 | Published: 19 December 2005

About the author(s)

A.O. Oduntan, Optometry Department, University of Limpopo, Private Bag x1106, Sovenga, 0727 South Africa, South Africa

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One  of  the  aspirations  of  many  low  vision patients is to read newspapers. Many low vision practitioners  use  1M  print  (Snellen  equivalent 6/15 at 40 cm or 6/24 at 25 cm) as the bench-mark for prescribing low vision optical devices for patients who wish to read newspapers. There are certain sections of the newspapers, however, with print sizes that are smaller than 1M, there-fore prescriptions based on 1M print size may present difficulties to the patient. The purpose of this study was to measure the smallest print sizes of  selected  sections  of  South African  newspa-pers. Based on the print size values, advice could be provided for effective prescription of reading devices for low vision patients whose desire is to read all or specific sections of newspapers.  Print  sizes  in  eight  sections  of  38  South African newspapers were measured using a 7x measuring magnifier with graticle. The smallest print sizes in the various sections of the newspa-pers ranged from 0.6 mm or 0.4M  (6/9.5 at 25 cm or 6/6 at 40 cm) to 1.9 mm or 1.3M (6/30 at 25cm or 6/20 at 40 cm). The mean sizes of the various sections of the newspapers ranged from 0.7  ±  0.18M  for  the  advert  section  to  1.12  ± 0.07M in the news section.  Reading device magnification established by using 1M print size as benchmark for prescrib-ing reading aids for low vision patients may not afford  the  visual  capability  needed  to  read  all sections of a newspaper. Such patients, thus may experience difficulty when reading certain sec-tions of newspapers. There is therefore, a need for  low  vision  practitioners  to  have  a  specific knowledge of the print sizes of the section of newspapers  that  the  patient  wants  to  read  and prescribe for them accordingly.


Newspaper, print size, South Africa, low vision patients, low vision practitioners


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