Gordon and his lab members have focused on explaining the role of vision in reading, including an understanding of why different eye diseases result in serious reading problems.  In a seminal series of twenty journal articles under the general title Psychophysics of Reading, published in the period 1985 to 2001, Gordon and his colleagues have discovered how key text variables (such as character size, contrast, color, and font) affect reading performance, and how three critical properties of vision loss impact reading—low acuity, reduced contrast sensitivity, and field loss.  This body of work, summarized in Gordon’s 2007 book, has been widely cited and influential in both the research community and in low-vision rehabilitation.

In subsequent work, Gordon and his students have demonstrated the important role of the visual span for reading (defined as the number of adjacent letters in text that can be recognized reliably without moving the eyes) in limiting reading in normal central and peripheral vision and in macular degeneration.

Current research is focusing on how to enhance reading accessibility for people with low vision. For example, we recently reported on a study of the effects of font selection on reading by people with macular degeneration, including fonts specifically designed for macular degeneration. In a survey study, we documented the widespread use of digital reading in low vision, and how people with different levels of acuity achieve suitable magnification.


Selected Publications

Cheong, A.M.Y., Legge, G.E., Lawrence, M., Cheung, S.-H., & Ruff, M. (2008). Relationship between visual span and reading performance in age-related macular degeneration. Vision Research, 48(4), 577-588. (article) (PDF)

He, Y., Legge, G.E. & Yu, D. (2013). Sensory and cognitive influences on the training-related improvement of reading speed in peripheral vision. Journal of Vision, 13(7): 14. (article) (PDF)

Legge, G.E., Cheung, S.-H., Yu, D., Chung, S.T.L., Lee, H.-W., & Owens, D.P. (2007). The case for the visual span as a sensory bottleneck in reading. Journal of Vision, 7(2): 9. (article) (PDF)

Legge, G.E. (2007). Psychophysics of Reading in Normal and Low Vision. Mahwah, NJ & London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Wu, Y.-H., Granquist, C., Gage, R., Crossland, M.D. & Legge, G.E. (2020). Online survey of digital reading by adults with low vision. Optometry & Vision Science, 97(4), 249-256. (article) (PDF)

Xiong, Y.-Z., Lorsung, E.A., Mansfield, J.S., Bigelow, C. & Legge, G.E. (2018). Fonts designed for macular degeneration: Impact on reading. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 59(10), 4182-4189. (article) (PDF)