September 13, 2018
2 min read

Visual ability, reading improves with eSight low vision device

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Walter Wittich, PhD, FAAO, CLVT
Walter Wittich

Study participants who wore the head-mounted low vision device, eSight, experienced immediate improvements in visual ability, facial recognition and activities of daily living, according to researchers.

The 51 participants were between 13 and 75 years old and had a distance acuity of 20/60 to 20/400. Data collection occurred at baseline with no device, at fitting with device and after 3 months of everyday wear.

The magnification provided by eSight Eyewear resulted in a significant improvement in reading print at distance, with a gain of seven lines from baseline to the intermediate measure. Similarly, improvement in ability to read at near yielded an immediate gain of five lines and a gain of one additional line after 3 months.

The reading accessibility index and critical print size also improved immediately but was unchanged at 3 months.

Contrast sensitivity improved, with a gain of the equivalent of 12 letters immediately, with no further improvement at 3 months.

Further, researchers indicated that the ability to correctly identify the sex and emotional expression in an image improved. Scores increased immediately when wearing the device compared with baseline, while no further improvement was noted after 3 months.

“In the context of the rehabilitation of low vision using head-mounted assistive devices, such as eSight Eyewear, the individualized refraction installed inside the device and provided by an optometrist is key in the fitting of the device,” Walter Wittich, PhD, FAAO, CLVT, assistant professor at the School of Optometry, University of Montreal, told Primary Care Optometry News. “Optometrists want to be familiar with the refraction and optical requirements for the type of near-eye displays that are built into eSight Eyewear and similar devices.”

The Melbourne Low Vision Activities of Daily Living indicated an immediate change in overall visual ability and no further change at 3 months.

Using the Veterans Affairs Low Vision Visual Functioning Questionnaire 48, participants noted significant improvement in their visual abilities.

“This effect was largely driven by changes in the visual information items such as face perception and the visual motor items such as pouring a liquid into a cup,” researchers wrote.

The study’s findings, “indicate that the magnification and contrast enhancement functions immediately have their intended effect, similar to improvements that we would expect from conventional visual magnification and contrast enhancement aids,” the researchers wrote.

Collaborating with other vision rehabilitation professionals, such as certified low vision therapists or occupational therapists with experience in the field of low vision, leads to successful integration of head-mounted devices, Wittich said.

“Such a team approach is likely to result in the most successful outcome for the client, thereby reducing the risk of device abandonment and increasing the level of satisfaction with the use of the head-mounted device,” he added. – by Abigail Sutton

Disclosures: Wittich reported no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for all remaining authors’ relevant financial disclosures.