Optometry and Technology – Vivid Vision Changing the Landscape of Vision Therapy

It is undeniable that the landscape of optometry and all of healthcare is changing. With advances in technology and ecommerce, the optometric community has found itself working to keep up with these changes.

While the online retail aspect of our profession is often faced with much scrutiny, there has been a lot of good from technology that stands to be gained. Vivid Vision, is a company on the forefront of technology, that has worked to provide Optometrists with another tool to treat binocular vision disorders.

Here is a brief interview with Tuan Tran O.D., who helped develop this resource.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 2012 graduate of the Michigan College of Optometry, and continued my education in vision therapy and rehabilitation. Prior to optometry school, my studies focused on engineering with a background in software design. I am the lead doctor of a 3 doctor private practice in Michigan, which also has 2 satellite offices. We practice full scope optometry, from pediatrics all the way to managing ocular disease and specialty contact lens fittings. I have been fortunate enough to educate future optometrists as a clinical associate professor for two schools, Western University of Health Sciences and Salus University.

What is Vivid Vision? Who created it? How did it start? What was your inspiration?

Vivid Vision, formerly Diplopia, is a company that develops software for binocular vision disorders. We released a suite for amblyopia this past April. James Blaha, is the CEO of the company and Manish is the cofounder. James was diagnosed with strabismus and amblyopia as a child and was treated unsuccessfully with a course of patching. He was told during adulthood that the critical age to treat his disorder had already passed. However, a few years ago, research suggested that the brain was still able to be trained to see binocularly. This was around the same time the Oculus Rift was released. Although not an optometrist, James understood the potential of the device and decided to purchase one. He developed a simple 3D animation, and for the first time in his life, he experienced 3D vision.

How does it work?

Our clinical version uses a high-end desktop system with a virtual reality headset and a hand tracking device. The clinician controls the variables of the activities on the touch screen interface, while the patient performs the task with the head mount display and can either use a controller or the hand tracking device. Imagine puvivid vision bundletting on the headset and seeing a tennis arena. Both eyes will see the elements in the court, such as the net, background, etc. The amblyopic eye will only see the ball, while the dominant eye will see the paddle. With both eyes turned on, the patient can see all elements of the game. If they begin to suppress, the ball will disappear. We have tools to encourage the amblyopic eye to “turn on,” such as flickering, adjusting the contrast/size of the ball, and partially blurring the dominant eye.

Has your company been featured anywhere?

We have been featured on websites such as techcrunch, wired, CNBC, engadget, and fastcompany. James started the kickstarter campaign using the website Indiegogo. I stumbled on his campaign early on and contacted him through the website. At the time, I was working on a similar plan as his. We decided to share our ideas and collaborate on this project. We all had the same ideas and wanted to develop software that will change vision therapy by making it more engaging.

Have any patients used it yet?

We currently have hundreds of beta test users that have participated since the kickstarter campaign. There’s also several clinics throughout the country who have purchased the device. Our website also has a doctor locator to find clinics currently utilizing Vivid Vision. There’s also an ongoing clinical study being conducted at UCSF on our software.

Why Vivid Vision vs traditional vision therapy?

Vivid Vision for Amblyopia is a tool for vision therapy clinics to use. It allows the patient the ability to treat a binocular vision disorder by playing games that are engaging and fun rather than looking at static images with anaglyph or active shutter glasses.

What will be the future of Vivid Vision?

At present time, we are focusing on our clinical version. A consumer version will be released early next year to allow patients without access to vision therapy clinics to do so at home. For international patients, we are working with distributors in Europe and Asia. By perfecting the clinical version first, we hope it will allow medical professionals to give us the feedback we need to improve the automaticity of the software. This will translate into a better consumer version.

Who can we contact for more info?

You can visit us online at www.seevividly.com. I will be visiting various optometry schools as well as conferences such as COVD and NORA. Feel free to contact me through our website or tuan@seevividly.com.

About Antonio Chirumbolo

Antonio Chirumbolo
Antonio Chirumbolo, OD, is Associate Director of Marketing at CovalentCareers. Antonio's focus is in the world of digital publications and healthcare marketing, with special attention on content creation, management, and development.

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