Augmented Reality in Scarsdale With Dr. Samantha SlotnickJul 31, 2022 04:28PM ● By Marilee Burrell
Patient explores augmented reality for vision therapy.
For years, Dr. Samantha Slotnick and her team of vision
therapists have been helping patients train their 3D visual skills with a
variety of specialized tools, including stereo viewers (with the light blue
instrument shown in the background of the photo) and polarized slides for 3D
glasses (beige slide holder visible as well). In her Scarsdale office,
computerized 3D software has always taken a back seat to these tried-and-true
vision therapy experiences. “Patients can train splinter skills with computerized
software,” explains Slotnick, “but the motor skills don’t necessarily transfer
to perceptual changes in real space unless a therapist is actively engaging
with the patient.”
However, when Slotnick recognized that the newest technology—augmented reality—could bring the best aspects of computerized therapy into free space, she says she jumped at the opportunity to upgrade the patient experience. Powerful binocular vision therapy software has been designed to work with the Microsoft HoloLens headset. The office has been buzzing with excitement over colorful, moving stereo targets floating in midair between chairs and through mirrors, according to Slotnick.
“The augmented reality system is a valuable addition to our therapy armamentarium,” says Slotnick. “The software projects 3D images into the space of the room with specialized translucent screens. The patient can actually see right through the goggles like a pair of glasses, with additional images layered right into real space!”
The system also helps the therapy team keep track of patient progress. “The headset actively monitors the patient’s eye posture, and it can even automatically adjust images to help the patient recover binocular fusion once the image moves beyond the patient’s viewing range,” says Slotnick. “Front-facing cameras monitor the patient’s hands, which allows patients to aim for floating images and get visual feedback as they touch virtual targets!”
“The best affirmation is that children and adults are immediately able to connect the virtual 3D images with real-world objects,” adds Slotnick. “Already, patients are reporting a greater appreciation for depth, after just a few minutes exploring augmented reality. They are amazed by the experience.”