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Benjamin T. Backus; Uses of virtual reality gaming for visual system training in patients with binocular dysfunction. Journal of Vision 2019;19(15):24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.15.24.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Common binocular dysfunctions include vergence disorders, amblyopia, strabismus, and stereo deficiency. Unlike a laboratory study of perceptual learning, which usually focuses on a single skill or mechanism, treating these dysfunctions requires addressing multiple subsystems. Indeed, these four conditions often co-occur. Traditionally these conditions are treated with monocular occlusion (patching), extraocular eye-muscle surgery, and vision therapy (VT) activities. VT shares characteristics perceptual learning, insofar as it combines manipulation of visual input with a cognitive or behavioral task. Various VT activities are based on principles that a cognitive scientist or vision scientist would recognize as being intended to effect perceptual learning in a subsystem of the visual system. But VT can potentially be improved in two ways: making the activities more effective per unit time, and increasing the amount of time that patients spend doing the activities. Whatever their strengths and shortcomings, traditional VT activities are limited by the amount of time that patients spend doing them. By contrast, video games can be made compelling to play, and virtual reality, in particular, is well suited for making games in which visual stimuli are manipulated to facilitate perceptual learning in (cause task performance to be limited by) a selected subsystem. Examples of activities in the Vivid Vision binocular vision treatment product, and changes over time in patient performance, illustrate the approach. Disclosure statement: Prof. Backus is employed by Vivid Vision, Inc., a company that makes virtual reality video games to treat dysfunction of binocular vision.
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