Highline Center for Vision Performance is proud to now include Vivid Vision, a virtual reality (VR) based therapy, to our digital toolbox. We are currently one of only five vision clinics in the state of Colorado to offer this new technology to our vision therapy patients. Not only is this new tool fun, it’s yielding faster results in many patients.
What is virtual reality?
Virtual reality is a system connecting computers, trackers, and goggles together to create an immersive visual (and sometimes auditory) experience. Small screens are positioned in front of each eye that project images that make it seem like you are moving through a different reality – one in which you can interact. Users hold controllers that allow them to steer through virtual environments and affect specific elements programmed for interaction. You can play games, visit far away places, and learn new skills.
Because binocular vision problems almost always include a reduced or inability to see in 3-D, VR and vision therapy are a perfect match to enhance visual skills.
Vivid Vision changes the game
Vivid Vision is a new software that utilizes VR technology to create customized vision therapy exercises for children and adults with binocular vision problems. Vivid Vision helps train the eyes, brain, and body to all work together. The screens within the goggles project separate images to each eye that the brain fuses into a single image, just like in the real world. That is what provides a sense of depth and motion.
In particular, Vivid Vision supports other vision therapy approaches to treat:
Why is virtual reality important for Vision Therapy?
Vivid Vision is precise and allows our vision therapists to adjust the images projected to each eye independently in order to train specific visual skills. The images can be controlled in terms of brightness and clarity according to specific needs.
Take the Pepper Picker game, for example. When the VR goggles are on, patients see the hand-held controllers as a pair of hands they can move. Pulling the trigger on the controller allows the user to grab items they see in the VR environment. Once in the game, users are standing between several tall plants with big leaves and in front of them is a list of vegetables that they must find by searching through the leaves. The goal is to find the specific vegetables on the list in order and in proper quantities.
Sounds easy, right? Here’s where the game gets high-tech: one eye is being shown the vegetables and the other eye sees only the hands. This forces the eyes to work together to see the whole picture and pick the veggies. Therapists can make small adjustments to various details of the scene in order to challenge each patient uniquely.
Other exercises challenge depth perception. The Bubbles game challenges users to pop bubbles that appear in front of them by reaching out to touch them with an index finger. The goal is to pop the bubble that is closest to you first. As the game progresses, therapists will gradually move the bubbles closer and closer together so the eyes and brain learn to recognize smaller and smaller deviations in visual depth.
Another game challenges depth perception at distance by asking users to use a squirt gun to hit various carnival targets. The rules require the player to hit targets closest first. As with every exercise, therapists can change details on-the-fly to keep them challenging and advance visual skills development.
Vivid Vision at home
Another exciting opportunity Vivid Vision allows is for *home vision therapy. Most vision therapy appointments take place in our office with a patient working one-on-one with their vision therapist. However, sometimes it is necessary for a vision therapy session to happen remotely and Vivid Vision is a natural fit for distance sessions.
*Highline Center for Vision performance recommends only using the Vivid Vision software under the guidance of a certified vision therapist. Vivid Vision is only one component to our robust vision therapy program that is customized for every patient.