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Video. Patient Identifies Monetary Bill

The patient, who has a best-corrected visual acuity of 20/400 in her better eye, is asked to identify a $5 bill. She first tries it with no low-vision aid and must hold the bill very close to her eye. With the OrCam, she recognizes the bill faster and from a greater distance.

Original Investigation
July 2016

Evaluation of a Portable Artificial Vision Device Among Patients With Low Vision

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, University of California Davis Eye Center, Sacramento
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134(7):748-752. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.1000

Importance  Low vision is irreversible in many patients and constitutes a disability. When no treatment to improve vision is available, technological developments aid these patients in their daily lives.

Objective  To evaluate the usefulness of a portable artificial vision device (OrCam) for patients with low vision.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A prospective pilot study was conducted between July 1 and September 30, 2015, in a US ophthalmology department among 12 patients with visual impairment and best-corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in their better eye.

Interventions  A 10-item test simulating activities of daily living was used to evaluate patients’ functionality in 3 scenarios: using their best-corrected visual acuity with no low-vision aids, using low-vision aids if available, and using the portable artificial vision device. This 10-item test was devised for this study and is nonvalidated. The portable artificial vision device was tested at the patients’ first visit and after 1 week of use at home.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Scores on the 10-item daily function test.

Results  Among the 12 patients, scores on the 10-item test improved from a mean (SD) of 2.5 (1.6) using best-corrected visual acuity to 9.5 (0.5) using the portable artificial vision device at the first visit (mean difference, 7.0; 95% CI, 6.0-8.0; P < .001) and 9.8 (0.4) after 1 week (mean difference from the first visit, 7.3; 95% CI, 6.3-8.3; P < .001). Mean (SD) scores with the portable artificial vision device were also better in the 7 patients who used other low-vision aids (9.7 [0.5] vs 6.0 [2.6], respectively; mean difference, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.5-5.9; P = .01).

Conclusions and Relevance  When patients used a portable artificial vision device, an increase in scores on a nonvalidated 10-item test of activities of daily living was seen. Further evaluations are warranted to determine the usefulness of this device among individuals with low vision.