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Michael Waisbourd, Osama Ahmed, Linda Siam, Marlene R Moster, Lisa A Hark, L Jay Katz; The Impact of a Novel Artificial Vision Device (OrCam) on the Quality of Life of Patients with End-Stage Glaucoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):519.
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The aim of this study was to determine the impact of OrCam on vision-related quality of life (QoL) of subjects with end-stage glaucoma.<br /> OrCam (OrCam Technologies LTD, Jerusalem, Israel), a novel artificial vision device, is comprised of a mini camera and bone-conduction earpiece, which are strapped to the user’s eyeglasses (Figure 1). When a patient points to a specific article or paragraph, the device translates the visual information into audio, conveying the information to the user.
This prospective, observational study enrolled legally blind patients with end-stage glaucoma and inability to read. Patients were included if their visual acuity was between 20/400 and hand motion in the better seeing eye or had a constricted visual field (<10 degrees) in the better seeing eye. Patients were trained on how to use the OrCam device prior to the 1-month study period. The primary outcome measure consisted of change in quality of life as assessed by the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ-25). Patients completed a weekly OrCam usage log, documented the time required for reading a newspaper article using the device, and a satisfaction survey after 1 month.
Eight legally blind patients used the device for a 1-month period. Patients were predominantly male (75%, n=6/8), with an average age of 65.9 years [range: 44-92 years]. Nearly all patients, 85.7%, n=7/8 reported an increase in their overall QoL. On a scale of 1 (highest score) to 5 (lowest score), patients were highly satisfied with the device, with mean (±SD) rates of 1.8±0.5. NEI-VFQ-25 social functioning subscale improved from 43.8 to 47.0 (P=0.021). Nearly all patients (87.5%, 7/8) showed improvement in the time required to read a newspaper article after 1-month of training. One patient described the use of the device as “liberating”, enabling him to read mail and books independently after years of blindness from glaucoma.
OrCam, a novel artificial vision device using a mini-camera mounted on eyeglasses, allowed legally blind patients with end-stage glaucoma to read independently, subsequently improving their QoL. This device may offer visually impaired patients additional resources to help function independently.
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