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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2005;46: E-Abstract 4590.
© 2005 ARVO


Comparison of the ELIA and Braille Tactile Alphabets for Adult Visually Impaired Readers

A.J. Chepaitis1,A, A. Griffiths2, H.J. Wyatt1,B and K. Aquilante1,A

A Vision Sciences, B Biological Sciences, 1 SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY
2 Department of Psychology, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ

Commercial Relationships: A.J. Chepaitis, ELIA Life Technology F, I, E, P, R; A. Griffiths, None; H.J. Wyatt, None; K. Aquilante, None.

Support: Langeloth Foundation Grant


Purpose: To assess the possible utility of Braille, and the new ELIA tactile alphabet, for adults who lost their vision after having learned to read visually.

Methods: Two groups of subjects were taught either Braille or the ELIA tactile alphabet. All subjects were adults who had lost significant vision after learning to read print visually. None knew Braille or the ELIA alphabet prior to the study. Over the 60–hour study the subjects learned, and were tested on, their respective alphabet at letter heights of 0.7 cm (standard Braille size), 0.9 cm, 1.1 cm and 1.3 cm. Subjects were tested on sentence reading and random letter identification.

Results: In all sentence reading tests, at each font size, the ELIA group had consistently higher scores (p<0.016). In final testing, subjects read less accurately at 0.7 cm than with larger representations of their respective fonts (p<0.017). Of all the results from both groups, letter spacing affected only the Braille alphabet at 0.7 cm, where standard Braille intra word spacing was markedly more difficult that standard Braille inter word spacing (p<0.018). Significant correlations were observed between age, tactile acuity (measured with a Legge Tactile Acuity Chart) and performance.

Conclusions: For previously sighted tactile learners, the ELIA font offered greater accessibility than Braille at each font size. Furthermore, the Braille alphabet, at standard size and intra word spacing, was the most difficult of all the presentations.

Keywords: low vision • aging • learning

 © 2005, The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Inc., all rights reserved. For permission to reproduce any part of this abstract, contact the ARVO Office at arvo{at}