Augmented reality headsets give glimpse of living with eye disease

Specialized headsets on display as World Association of Eye Hospitals meets at Kellogg Eye Cent

ANN ARBOR, Mich. –  Picture this:  You look through a peephole and stare straight ahead. You see everything in front of you, but everything above, below and around you goes black.

This is what it’s like to have a loss of peripheral vision.

Athletes from baseball pitchers to basketball players rely on peripheral vision for reaction speed and to anticipate their opponent’s next move. For the rest of us, peripheral vision helps us sense movement and to walk without crashing into things.

As the World Association of Eye Hospitals meets for the first time in the United States at University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, augmented reality headsets were on display to simulate what life is like with a vision disorder.

Kellogg Eye Center has worked with the U-M Department of Engineering to develop the software that’s a teaching tool for patients and health care providers.

At least 10 million people in the United States are blind or visually impaired. Globally, 160 million individuals suffer from eye conditions.

Glaucoma most often leads to loss of peripheral vision, while age-related macular degeneration can rob adults of their central vision and interfere with the ability to see faces, drive or read. Diabetic eye disease also impacts central vision and is a leading cause of blindness among working age adults.

Eye hospitals will gather in Ann Arbor to exchange ideas about how to deliver care for the rapidly growing number of people with eye conditions.


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