Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive optic nerve damage and the leading cause of irreversible blindness affecting 76 million of the global population in 2020. Patients exhibit a wide spectrum of functional deficits, with different degrees of impairment in visual field, contrast sensitivity, colour vision, and visual acuity that cause them difficulties in performing daily tasks. However, routine tests often cover only the visual acuity aspect (i.e. how clearly we see), while practical measures to assess vision-related disabilities in the real world are not available nor used in clinical practice. What is worse, as glaucoma first affects periphery vision and often only one eye, many patients still have normal visual acuity even at late stages. Clinicians may therefore underestimate the degree of vision-related disability experienced by patients.
The team designed a cost-effective screening test to identify and monitor patients with visual disability, making use of interactive VR environments that simulate day-to-day activities. Not only can the technology detect hidden disparities in an integrated analysis of all visual aspects, but the portable headset is also ideal for long-term monitoring, especially for diseases like glaucoma that worsen without noticeable symptoms. Further, instead of incomprehensible figures, patients receive performance measures in terms of functional consequences that they can directly related; while clinicians may better understand a patient’s perspective to tailor appropriate visual aids, treatment and counselling for each.
The tool identifies patients with visual disability early on to ensure timely treatment, even making home monitoring possible so frequent clinic visits are no longer necessary. The comprehensive assessment saves patients from multiple clinical tests which cannot even provide comparable evaluations to the team’s technology. VR performance scores also open up a new perspective for patients and clinicians towards understanding the clinical test results for risk assessment, visual rehabilitation, and improvement of treatment compliance.
– 500 glaucoma patients
Christopher has been awarded multiple times for his exceptional research and services in the detection and monitoring of glaucoma with novel diagnostic technologies. He serves as Associate Director of CUHK’s Ophthalmic Research Centre and the Honorary Consultant of Hong Kong Eye Hospital.
Christopher received his Doctor of Medicine from CUHK. He then completed a clinical and research fellowship in glaucoma at the Hamilton Glaucoma Center, the University of California, San Diego.