Vision Therapy Based on Naturalistic 3-D Computer Gaming
The iCare system, now available for pre-order, is a novel approach to home-based vision therapy (HBVT) for children. Traditional HBVT approaches fail largely due to patient non-compliance; existing HBVT software is outdated and lacks motivational draw. The iCare game is a modern PC-based driving simulator, specially designed for the treatment of amblyopia and convergence insufficiency – treatable vision disorders that can impair a child’s ability to learn. The system takes advantage of low-cost, off-the-shelf gaming hardware (specifically, the Nintendo “Wiimote”) to achieve a novel head-tracking and human interface scheme. In doing so, naturalistic 3-D images are created through the dynamic generation of motion parallax, something that traditional 3-D graphics cannot achieve. Furthermore, the ability to estimate the user’s distance from the screen prevents intentional or unintentional “cheating,” where the patient sits closer than intended to the computer screen, thereby reducing the therapeutic effect of the software. Automated logging tools aid the clinician in tracking user compliance. The system aims to be a low-cost solution capable of improving the quality of life of the approximately 4% of children in the United States who suffer from these vision disorders.