See also comment(s) by Peter Jones & David Crabb •
IMPORTANCE: Clinical assessment of vision-related disability is hampered by the lack of instruments to assess visual performance in real-world situations. Interactive virtual reality (VR) environments displayed in a binocular stereoscopic VR headset have been designed, presumably simulating day-to-day activities to evaluate vision-related disability. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the application of VR to identify vision-related disability in patients with glaucoma. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: In a cross-sectional study, 98 patients with glaucoma and 50 healthy individuals were consecutively recruited from a university eye clinic; all participants were Chinese. The study was conducted between August 30, 2016, and July 31, 2017; data analysis was performed from December 1, 2017, to October 30, 2018. EXPOSURES: Measurements of visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, visual field (VF), National Eye Institute 25-item Visual Function Questionnaire Rasch score, and VR disability scores determined from 5 VR simulations: supermarket shopping, stair and city navigations in daytime, and stair and city navigations in nighttime. Duration required to complete the simulation, number of items incorrectly identified, and number of collisions were measured to compute task-specific and overall VR disability scores. Vision-related disability was identified when the VR disability score was outside the normal age-adjusted 95% confidence region. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Virtual reality disability score. RESULTS: In the 98 patients with glaucoma, mean (SD) age was 49.8 (11.6) years and 60 were men (61.2%); in the 50 healthy individuals, mean (SD) age was 48.3 (14.8) years and 16 were men (32.0%). The patients with glaucoma had different degrees of VF loss (122 eyes [62.2%] had moderate or advanced VF defects). The time required to complete the activities by patients with glaucoma vs healthy individuals was longer by 15.2 seconds (95% CI, 5.5-24.9 seconds) or 34.1% (95% CI, 12.4%-55.7%) for the shopping simulation, 72.8 seconds (95% CI, 23.0-122.6 seconds) or 33.8% (95% CI, 10.7%-56.9%) for the nighttime stair navigation, and 38.1 seconds (95% CI, 10.9-65.2 seconds) or 30.8% (95% CI, 8.8%-52.8%) for the nighttime city navigation. The mean (SD) duration was not significantly different between the glaucoma and healthy groups in daytime stair (203.7 [93.7] vs 192.9 [89.1] seconds, P = .52) and city (118.7 [41.5] vs 117.0 [52.3] seconds, P = .85) navigation. For each decibel decrease in binocular VF sensitivity, the risk of collision increased by 15% in nighttime stair (hazard ratio [HR], 1.15; 95% CI, 1.08-1.22) and city (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.08-1.23) navigations. Fifty-eight patients (59.1%) with glaucoma had vision-related disability in at least 1 simulated daily task; a higher proportion of patients had vision-related disability in nighttime city (27 of 88 [30.7%]) and stair (27 of 90 [30.0%]) navigation than in daytime city (7 of 88 [8.0%]) and stair (19 of 96 [19.8%]) navigation. The overall VR disability score was associated with the National Eye Institute 25-item Visual Function Questionnaire Rasch score (R2 = 0.207). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These findings suggest that vision-related disability is associated with lighting condition and task in patients with glaucoma. Virtual reality may allow eye care professionals to understand the patients' perspectives on how visual impairment imparts disability in daily living and provide a new paradigm to augment the assessment of vision-related disability.
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.Full article
1.4 Quality of life (Part of: 1 General aspects)