VR Amblyopia Trainer
Start date: 1. April 2018
End date: 30. June 2020 – Extended to 30.06.2020
Funding source: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft und Medien, Energie und Technologie (StMWIVT) (ab 10/2013)
Vision Impairments like amblyopia can be treated by digital therapies using virtual reality systems. These therapies help to avoid or at least reduce the lifelong consequences due to developmental disorders. Amblyopia is a functional vision impairment of a single eye based on insufficient development of the visual system in early childhood. In Central Europe the prevalence of amblyopia is about 5 – 6%. Amblyopia is the main reason for vision impairments during the first 45 years of life. Occlusion therapy as the current gold standard in therapy treats only the weak eye at the expense of binocular vision and is associated with disadvantages: amblyopic childs treated by occlusion therapy showed a decrease in visual acuity in the healthy eye by almost half of the increase in visual acuity in the amblyopic eye after the treatment. The here proposed VR-AMBLOYPIE TRAINER is not intended to show these deficits as it does not utilize occlusion but rather improves binocular vision. Virtual Reality is said to be the upcoming key technology in medicine. Educational, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches increasingly make use of this technology.
The aim of the novel therapeutic concept of the VR-AMBLOYPIE TRAINER is the increase of visual acuity in the weak eye as well as training the binocular vision. The task of the amblyope is to return balls to a virtual player. The amblyope is playfully interacting with the system. Thereby the task can only be accomplished if both eyes work together and important depth information can be extracted to correctly return the ball. Repetitive performing of this visual task with increasing level of difficulty helps to improve binocular vision.