Preliminary evaluation of two digital image processing strategies for head-mounted magnification for low vision patients

Ashley D. Deemer, Bonnielin K. Swenor, Kyoko Fujiwara, James T. Deremeik, Nicole C. Ross, Danielle M. Natale, Chris K. Bradley, Frank S. Werblin, Robert W. Massof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: In an observational clinical outcome study, we tested the effectiveness and use of the combination of two innovative approaches to magnification: a virtual bioptic telescope and a virtual projection screen, implemented with digital image processing in a head-mounted display (HMD) equipped with a high-resolution video camera and head trackers. Methods: We recruited 30 participants with best-corrected visual acuity <20/100 in the better-seeing eye and bilateral central scotomas. Participants were trained on the HMD system, then completed a 7-to 10-day in-home trial. The Activity Inventory was administered before and after the home trial to measure the effect of system use on self-reported visual function. A simulator sickness questionnaire (SSQ) and a system-use survey were administered. Rasch analysis was used to assess outcomes. Results: Significant improvements were seen in functional ability measures estimated from goal difficulty ratings (Cohen’s d = 0.79, P < 0.001), and reading (d = 1.28, P < 0.001) and visual information (d = 1.11, P < 0.001) tasks. There was no improvement in patient-reported visual motor function or mobility. One participant had moderately severe discomfort symptoms after SSQ item calibration. The average patient rating of the system’s use was 7.14/10. Conclusions: Use of the system resulted in functional vision improvements in reading and visual information processing. Lack of improvement in mobility and visual motor function is most likely due to limited field of view, poor depth perception, and lack of binocular disparity. Translational Relevance: We determine if these new image processing approaches to magnification are beneficial to low vision patients performing everyday activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Head-mounted display
  • Virtual reality
  • Vision impairment
  • Visual function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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