Technology lets vision-impaired see world with new eyes
FOR most of her life, Kaitlin Larney has struggled to see anything in the distance.
Vision-impared Kaitlin Larney is one of the first people to benefit from new virtual-reality goggles.Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian
The 22-year-old has 5 per cent vision because of cone-rod dystrophy, a condition that causes the retina cells to deteriorate, causing blurred vision and loss of peripheral vision and colour perception.
But now, using groundbreaking technology, she can zoom in on objects in the distance she was previously unable to see.
Miss Larney is one of the first Australians to receive IrisVision and the first to use the system under the WA National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The wearable device allows people with low vision to see the world up close, using a Samsung virtual-reality headset combined with software uploaded to a smartphone.
The phone sits in front of the headset, and using its camera, vision-impaired people can super-magnify objects at all distances, helping them read and see a computer screen, people’s faces and distant objects.
Vision Australia, a not-for-profit leading provider of services for more than 27,000 people who are blind or have low vision, is the sole stockist of IrisVision outside the US.
“I’ve been able to see people and things very close to me, but I normally can’t see objects further away,” Miss Larney said.
“With this technology I was able to see my sister’s recent high school graduation, and while it wasn’t super clear, being able to see (her) on the stage was more than I could have ever expected.
“It’s not a miracle, but it’s enhancing the little bit of vision I have, and I’m very grateful to Vision Australia for giving me the chance to use this technology.”
Miss Larney hopes the technology will help her become a student in animal studies.
Cathy O’Leary | PerthNow
January 17, 2018 7:30AM
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