Low Vision Enhancement with Head-mounted Video Display Systems: Are We There Yet?

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Abstract

SIGNIFICANCE

Head-mounted video display systems and image processing as a means of enhancing low vision are ideas that have been around for more than 20 years. Recent developments in virtual and augmented reality technology and software have opened up new research opportunities that will lead to benefits for low vision patients. Since the Visionics low vision enhancement system (LVES), the first head-mounted video display LVES, was engineered 20 years ago, various other devices have come and gone with a recent resurgence of the technology over the past few years. In this article, we discuss the history of the development of LVESs, describe the current state of available technology by outlining existing systems, and explore future innovation and research in this area. Although LVESs have now been around for more than two decades, there is still much that remains to be explored. With the growing popularity and availability of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, we can now integrate these methods within low vision rehabilitation to conduct more research on customized contrast-enhancement strategies, image motion compensation, image-remapping strategies, and binocular disparity, all while incorporating eye-tracking capabilities. Future research should use this available technology and knowledge to learn more about the visual system in the low vision patient and extract this new information to create prescribable vision enhancement solutions for the visually impaired individual.

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