Follow the bouncing ball

​​​Using a VR headset, low-vision patients see yellow balls moving around a streetscape 

​Dr. Michael Reber is harnessing the power of virtual reality to retrain the brains of people with low vision

Ever since the words "virtual reality" entered our lexicon, humankind has been fascinated with the concept. We imagined visiting far-flung worlds in our very own StarTrek-style holodeck, without ever leaving home.

Holodecks haven't come to fruition just yet, but virtual reality, or VR, is being put to very practical use: transforming the lives of people with low vision.

One of the leaders in this cutting-edge area of research is Dr. Michael Reber, senior scientist at the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute. He's using VR to solve complex vision challenges, enhancing sight for patients of all ages who had virtually given up hope.

At the heart of Dr. Reber's treatment program is the Oculus Go, a device normally marketed to gamers looking for an immersive experience. Here, the headset and a specialized program are used to treat people with peripheral vision loss.

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