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Invited Commentary
March 19, 2020

Virtual Reality Simulation to Identify Vision-Associated Disability in Patients With Glaucoma

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stein Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2020;138(5):499-500. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.0391

In the report in this issue of JAMA Ophthalmology by Lam et al1 on the application of virtual reality (VR) simulation of daily activities to evaluate vision-associated disability in patients with moderate to severe glaucoma, authors asked a simple yet very important clinical question: can real-world visual performance be estimated with VR simulations to inform clinicians about the patient’s vision-associated disability? In other words, can we visualize the levels of disability that patients are experiencing? In this study, they designed 5 interactive VR environments that included supermarket shopping and stair and city navigations in daytime and nighttime to simulate the daily activities in a local community and tested them on patients with glaucoma and healthy individuals.

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1 Comment for this article
Virtual Reality Simulation As An Educational Tool To Prevent Life-Changing Falls
Peter Shah, BSc MA FRCOphth FRCP Edin | University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
Alexander Lam and colleagues provide elegant evidence of what it is like to live with the visual disability component of glaucoma. Falls in glaucoma can have life-changing consequences in a split-second. Many falls occur in a stereotypical manner and the visual hazards that lead to them could be recreated virtually.

If virtual reality simulation could be used to interact with patients and alert them to the common patterns of visual hazards that are associated with falls, then there is potential for it to be used as a powerful educational tool.

The human and economic impact of reducing
the prevalence of life-changing falls cannot be understated. Taking this important research to an interactive and educational level could have profound benefits for patients.