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A novel, wearable, electronic visual aid to assist those with reduced peripheral vision

A novel, wearable, electronic visual aid to assist those with reduced peripheral vision
A novel, wearable, electronic visual aid to assist those with reduced peripheral vision
Purpose: to determine whether visual-tactile sensory substitution utilizing the Low-vision Enhancement Optoelectronic (LEO) Belt prototype is suitable as a new visual aid for those with reduced peripheral vision by assessing mobility performance and user opinions.

Methods: sighted subjects (n = 20) and subjects with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) (n = 6) were recruited. The LEO Belt was evaluated on two cohorts: normally sighted subjects wearing goggles to artificially reduce peripheral vision to simulate stages of RP progression, and subjects with advanced visual field limitation from RP. Mobility speed and accuracy was assessed using simple mazes, with and without the LEO Belt, to determine its usefulness across disease severities and lighting conditions.

Results: sighted subjects wearing most narrowed field goggles simulating most advanced RP had increased mobility accuracy (44% mean reduction in errors, p = 0.014) and self-reported confidence (77% mean increase, p = 0.004) when using the LEO Belt. Additionally, use of LEO doubled mobility accuracy for RP subjects with remaining visual fields between 10° and 20°. Further, in dim lighting, confidence scores for this group also doubled. By patient reported outcomes, subjects largely deemed the device comfortable (100%), easy to use (92.3%) and thought it had potential future benefit as a visual aid (96.2%). However, regardless of severity of vision loss or simulated vision loss, all subjects were slower to complete the mazes using the device.

Conclusions: the LEO Belt improves mobility accuracy and therefore confidence in those with severely restricted peripheral vision. The LEO Belt’s positive user feedback suggests it has potential to become the next generation of visual aid for visually impaired individuals. Given the novelty of this approach, we expect navigation speeds may improve with experience.
1932-6203
Ffion, Brown
934077c9-fb44-41b5-b090-df0ccd54838e
Sutton, Janice
30b3922c-d822-4259-a59a-b46e2fac4936
Yuen, Ho
b1df4c57-0c2a-44ac-ab40-22b88e8effe8
Green, Dylan
da0ba1a9-c6d2-4daa-b441-818fc78a59cf
van Dorn, Spencer
eb9632a7-55ec-462f-bef8-408f8c39e092
Braun, Terry A.
3964cac3-ddc9-40f3-8fa9-8abec30afd28
Cree, Angela
6724b71b-8828-4abb-971f-0856c2af555e
Russell, Stephen R.
f8f01d5a-13b7-4cbc-963d-8f48f4a2d6d0
Lotery, Andrew
5ecc2d2d-d0b4-468f-ad2c-df7156f8e514
Ffion, Brown
934077c9-fb44-41b5-b090-df0ccd54838e
Sutton, Janice
30b3922c-d822-4259-a59a-b46e2fac4936
Yuen, Ho
b1df4c57-0c2a-44ac-ab40-22b88e8effe8
Green, Dylan
da0ba1a9-c6d2-4daa-b441-818fc78a59cf
van Dorn, Spencer
eb9632a7-55ec-462f-bef8-408f8c39e092
Braun, Terry A.
3964cac3-ddc9-40f3-8fa9-8abec30afd28
Cree, Angela
6724b71b-8828-4abb-971f-0856c2af555e
Russell, Stephen R.
f8f01d5a-13b7-4cbc-963d-8f48f4a2d6d0
Lotery, Andrew
5ecc2d2d-d0b4-468f-ad2c-df7156f8e514

Ffion, Brown, Sutton, Janice, Yuen, Ho, Green, Dylan, van Dorn, Spencer, Braun, Terry A., Cree, Angela, Russell, Stephen R. and Lotery, Andrew (2019) A novel, wearable, electronic visual aid to assist those with reduced peripheral vision. PLoS ONE. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0223755).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose: to determine whether visual-tactile sensory substitution utilizing the Low-vision Enhancement Optoelectronic (LEO) Belt prototype is suitable as a new visual aid for those with reduced peripheral vision by assessing mobility performance and user opinions.

Methods: sighted subjects (n = 20) and subjects with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) (n = 6) were recruited. The LEO Belt was evaluated on two cohorts: normally sighted subjects wearing goggles to artificially reduce peripheral vision to simulate stages of RP progression, and subjects with advanced visual field limitation from RP. Mobility speed and accuracy was assessed using simple mazes, with and without the LEO Belt, to determine its usefulness across disease severities and lighting conditions.

Results: sighted subjects wearing most narrowed field goggles simulating most advanced RP had increased mobility accuracy (44% mean reduction in errors, p = 0.014) and self-reported confidence (77% mean increase, p = 0.004) when using the LEO Belt. Additionally, use of LEO doubled mobility accuracy for RP subjects with remaining visual fields between 10° and 20°. Further, in dim lighting, confidence scores for this group also doubled. By patient reported outcomes, subjects largely deemed the device comfortable (100%), easy to use (92.3%) and thought it had potential future benefit as a visual aid (96.2%). However, regardless of severity of vision loss or simulated vision loss, all subjects were slower to complete the mazes using the device.

Conclusions: the LEO Belt improves mobility accuracy and therefore confidence in those with severely restricted peripheral vision. The LEO Belt’s positive user feedback suggests it has potential to become the next generation of visual aid for visually impaired individuals. Given the novelty of this approach, we expect navigation speeds may improve with experience.

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Accepted/In Press date: 29 September 2019
Published date: 15 October 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 435792
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435792
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: d0d74f12-9acd-48cd-8474-96484748ce54
ORCID for Andrew Lotery: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5541-4305

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Date deposited: 20 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 22 Nov 2021 02:49

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Contributors

Author: Brown Ffion
Author: Janice Sutton
Author: Ho Yuen
Author: Dylan Green
Author: Spencer van Dorn
Author: Terry A. Braun
Author: Angela Cree
Author: Stephen R. Russell
Author: Andrew Lotery ORCID iD

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