New goggles take hassles out of eye test

August 9th, 2008 - 11:30 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 9 (IANS) Researchers have developed a device that can be worn like goggles, which practically takes the hassles out of existing eye tests and gives much better results. The new Tel Aviv University-developed device - the VIP Virtual Perimetry - removes the physical limitations of the traditional bulky machine used today.

The new device is able to instantly study and measure a patient’s reflex, when presented with a visual stimulus. Equally exciting, the new device removes previously high rates of false negatives and positives answers, said Arieh S. Solomon, who heads experimental ophthalmology at Tel Aviv University. He had integrated three technologies to develop the VIP goggles.

“Past the age of 60, every person has to go for this test every two years before renewing their driver’s licence,” he says. “People tire from it quickly and it reports false information on a large number of people who are unable to sit still in the machine,” he added.

The new cost-effective goggle device can be connected and used anywhere there is a computer hook-up, even in developing countries, or at a patient’s bedside while under care.

Eye tests are widely used by eye doctors and neurologists. By determining the health of the retina, optic nerve and the visual pathway throughout the brain, the test can uncover glaucoma and conditions such as optic neuritis or brain damage. It is also used to pinpoint neurological damage after an accident or surgery.

Today’s eye test is hard to pass, especially among those who need it the most. Sitting at the machine with the chin propped up on a ledge, a patient must fix the eye at a target and then simultaneously press a button when stimulated with light.

“The test is uncomfortable, not entirely accurate, and difficult for the elderly, children and people with disabilities,” said Solomon.

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