Realising the medical potential of virtual reality

As a medical physicist, one of my aims is to apply new technology to address medical challenges. During my PhD I explored the use of virtual reality to examine complex data, and soon concluded that this is a potentially influential technology with many applications in medicine. One example is to benefit people with nystagmus. Nystagmus is an eye movement disorder where the eyes wobble uncontrollably, leading to significant visual impairment. If nystagmus develops early in life, the brain often adapts to the eye movements but for those who develop the condition after infancy, the effects are debilitating. To them the world is in constant motion as their eyes move erratically.

My research aims to use virtual reality to raise awareness of nystagmus, aid clinical decisions and improve vision in these individuals. We have released an app (“Nystagmus Oscillopsia Sim VR”) which allows people to experience what it is like to have the condition. We are now trying to extend this work to produce real-time display stabilisation to provide improved vision for these individuals.

Dr David Randall – Article published online 1st November 2018 ‘Into The Void Science’ Magazine – Issue 7 – November 2018.