The New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF) has given $50,000 (USD) in the form of a grant towards helping out kids who are suffering from binocular vision dysfunction, which is where the child’s eyes cannot align, and it is manifesting itself as a virtual reality (VR) videogame.
The way the money is being used is to develop a VR therapy game for the kids to help with the strain that is put on their eyes as a result of this condition, which often leads to dizziness, headaches, disorientation, anxiety or difficulty reading. The idea of this VR therapy is that it will help the kids concentrate their eyes with the help of the tech, helping them regain full control of their sight.
There are still challenges for the children, dispite the incredible VR technology. “One challenge for children with vision dysfunction is that the visual systems they experience are the only visual experience they know,” explained Dr. Alvarez in a press release. “So while they have significant discomfort while reading or doing close-up work, they may think this is normal because they do not know what it is like to read without discomfort. If a child becomes frustrated with reading at an early age, he or she may be less engaged in learning and not be motivated to establish good study habits.”
“After meeting with Dr. Alvarez, we began to understand that the binocular vision dysfunction she is addressing can have far-reaching learning repercussions for children with this disorder,” explained George F. Heinrich, M.D., vice chair and CEO of New Jersey Health Foundation. “We were drawn to the idea that Dr. Alvarez is employing a novel way for a child to participate in his or her own treatment, which could prove to be very effective when treating BVD.”
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