A wearable brain-based device called NGoggle that incorporates virtual reality (VR) could help improve glaucoma diagnosis and prevent vision loss. The device consists of head-mounted VR goggles that use light to stimulate targeted areas in a patient’s visual field. Its portability means it could be used in a variety of environments such as in an eye care professional’s office, community centre, or at home.
The VR goggles are integrated with wireless electroencephalography (EEG), a series of electrodes that adhere to the scalp to measure brain activity in response to signals received from the eyes. Within a few minutes, the NGoggle algorithm captures and analyses enough data to report how well each eye communicates with the brain across the patient’s field of vision. Diminished activity may indicate functional loss from glaucoma.
Dr Felipe Medeiros, a co-founder of NGoggle, Inc., and a professor of ophthalmology at Duke University School of Medicine, said the device’s VR capabilities can be greatly leveraged – people could be tested for glaucoma as they play a VR-based video game or explore a virtual art gallery for instance. “The possibilities are endless for making it an engaging experience, which would go a long way toward ensuring that people use it and receive the treatment they need,” he said.
In a partnership with Duke University, a study is being conducted to validate the diagnostic accuracy and reproducibility of the device. In addition to comparing NGoggle to standard automated perimetry, they will look at how well NGoggle discriminates among different stages of disease by comparing its assessments of the neural damage in glaucoma with standard imaging techniques such as optical coherence tomography. The investigators also plan to conduct longitudinal investigations to validate the ability of the device to detect disease progression. Results will inform an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market the device.