For that special person on your gift list with vision problems, a tablet or an e-reader with a backlit screen is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

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A report on high-tech devices at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago last month found that many people with damaged central vision caused by eye diseases such as macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy "can regain the ability to read quickly and comfortably" using tablets such as Apple's iPad or Amazon's Kindle.

Because tablets and e-readers allow type fonts to be adjusted larger, all people with low vision improved their reading ability. But the report found that the best results came with those using devices with a backlight, because the light increases contrast between the words and the background. The report noted that "contrast sensitivity" is a common problem for people with low vision.