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Virtual Reality Vision Aid SightPlus Helping Restore Eyesight

GiveVision, a British electronics firm, has recently developed a new wearable virtual reality (VR) device named SightPlus. It is a visual aid for supporting people whose sight loss cannot be addressed by surgery or glasses.

British company GiveVision has created SightPlus, a VR headset, which has radically enhanced the vision of people suffering from sight loss. It has been designed for people with a high degree of sight damage that cannot be cured by surgery or eyeglasses.

Based on the results of a study by the Moorfields Eye Hospital, almost 70 percent of individuals participating informed that their visual acuity reached 0.2 logMAR. The logMAR scale is used as a standard for evaluating low vision and defining the normal sight range.

Stan Karpenko, CEO of GiveVision stated that getting an idea of how SightPlus works, one has to comprehend the condition patients are in. He revealed that the patients most suitable for SightPlus are those without central sight. These are individuals who see the world as a blur, and can only observe shapes, lights, and likenesses. According to Karpenko, these are the patients who rely on objects like magnifying glasses. SightPlus utilises its camera to expand and enhance the surroundings of a patient. It eliminates the need for adjusting one’s position with a magnifying glass to observe objects. The device lets people interact with their surroundings with greater instinct.

The virtual reality device SightPlus. Image source: givevision

Michael Mason, an individual who has used the device for three years, longer than anyone else. Mason expressed that SightPlus changed his life for the better. Elaborating further on his circumstances, saying that earlier he had to sit a foot away from the television to view it. But with SightPlus, he could sit at the usual distance of eight feet away from the screen. He could also view things in vivid colour, instead of how things appeared grayish before. According to Mason, his life became safer due to the device. He reported that he is now able to discern medication dosages himself, write cheques and use online banking facilities.

Mason suffers from macular degeneration. When he first used the device, the improvements he witnessed included being able to observe the entirety of an optician’s sight chart. Users are generally not directed to use the device whilst in motion. Yet, Mason reported that he could use it whilst going on a shopping trip.

SightPlus enables people to utilise a remote control system to control what degree of visual enhancement they require. Different settings are required for activities like reading a book or watching TV. The device also offers colour adjustments to achieve the desired level of comfort. It can be modified in real-time based on ambient lighting. People can also click screenshots of objects or spaces they observe. According to Karpenko, the screenshot functionality can be used by students for clicking lecture slide images.

The device is now available to patients via GiveVision. One can also choose to purchase directly for £2,955. Users can also opt for a monthly subscription plan with installments of £55. The VR device has received financial approval from the UK Disabled Student Allowance and Access to Work Allowance schemes.

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