Virtual Reality Goggles Could Help Detect Glaucoma, Brain Damage

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 10 2008 10:03 AM

An Israeli expert has developed a goggles-like device that can make it much easier to conduct visual field tests, which can uncover glaucoma and conditions like optic neuritis or brain damage.

Dr. Arieh S. Solomon, an eye research doctor at Tel Aviv University, says that the compact device worn over the eyes as goggles can solve the limitations of the current standard test.

"The (current) test is uncomfortable, not entirely accurate, and difficult for the elderly, children and people with disabilities," he says.

He says that the new device-the VIP Virtual Perimetry-removes the physical limitations of the traditional bulky machine is able to instantly study and measure a patient's reflex, when presented with a visual stimulus.

It removes previously high rates of false negatives and positives answers, says Dr. Solomon, who integrated three technologies to develop the VIP goggles.

"Past the age of 60, every person has to go for this test every two years before renewing their driver's licence. People tire from it quickly and it reports false information on a large number of people who are unable to sit still in the machine," he says.

Dr. Solomon says that his device can be used anywhere by connecting it to a computer, even in developing countries or at a patient's bedside while under care.

The VIP has been tested on eye doctors who have given it rave reviews during the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), an international organization.

"The VIP was appreciated by all of the doctors who wanted to test it for themselves. They know the problems with the current visual field test and welcome a new solution," says Dr. Solomon.

Dr. Solomon reckons that the device may be ready for commercialisation in the U.S. within a year, if given the right financial backing.