Raising Awareness About Eye Disorders With VR

With 75% of the adult population seeing 20/20 thanks to glasses, contacts, or just awesome genetics, it’s easy to see why good vision is taken for granted. Unless you have a vision disorder yourself, it’s hard to imagine—let alone begin to understand—what living with an eye disorder is like on a day to day basis.

Now with an innovative combination of VR and eye tracking technology, German optical systems manufacturer Zeiss is on a mission to change that.

In partnership with producer NMY, Zeiss created a VR experience to spread awareness on eye disorders by simulating cataracts or scotoma—two of the most prevalent eye disorders among adults—in healthy-eyed users. The VR demo lets users play a fun game of ping pong, only to quickly realize that simple things like ping pong aren’t quite so simple with impaired vision.

The VR experience was made possible through the use of eye tracking technology developed by SMI, in which the user’s line of vision and eye position is precisely calculated within the headset—in this case, an HTC Vive—so that the images seen by the user can be adjusted in real time.

The VR experience was shown to users at trade shows across the country, and while Zeiss’ primary mission was to spread empathy and awareness surrounding the daily reality of life with eye disorders, researchers are also using data gathered from the experience for continued scientific advancement.

Data gathered from the experience will be used for product development, and Zeiss has clear, ambitious plans for the future: “to literally open everyone’s eyes” to the reality of eye disorders.

About the Scout

Presley West

Emory University student, VRScout Writer, Storyteller, and Amateur Dog Walker.

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