Virtual Reality Used in Glaucoma Research

Eye Exam Machine | Florida Eye Specialists

A study has found that falls are the “leading cause of injury-related death and morbidity in older adults, especially those with a chronic eye disease such as glaucoma.” To test this problem, a group of researchers used virtual reality technology to measure balance control in glaucoma patients.

All participants wore Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles. The goggles presented different types of motion that cause them to feel off balance. As they moved to regain their balance, their movements were recorded by a device they were standing on, called a force platform.

Researchers found that people who have glaucoma required more time to regain their balance. They also found that the degree to which balance was lost was strongly linked to a history of falls. The study researchers believe that the lack of balance control in participants with glaucoma can be linked with the loss of retinal ganglion cells cause by the disease. Retinal ganglion cells are responsible for processing and sending visual information to the brain. With the loss of these cells, a person will have slower visual processing and impaired motion perception.