A novel, wearable, electronic visual aid to assist those with reduced peripheral vision

Autoři: Ffion E. Brown aff001;  Janice Sutton aff001;  Ho M. Yuen aff002;  Dylan Green aff003;  Spencer Van Dorn aff003;  Terry Braun aff003;  Angela J. Cree aff001;  Stephen R. Russell aff003;  Andrew J. Lotery aff001
Působiště autorů: Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton, England, United Kingdom aff001;  Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton, England, United Kingdom aff002;  Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States of America aff003;  Southampton Eye Unit, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital Southampton, Southampton, England, United Kingdom aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223755



To determine whether visual-tactile sensory substitution utilizing the Low-vision Enhancement Optoelectronic (LEO) Belt prototype is suitable as a new visual aid for those with reduced peripheral vision by assessing mobility performance and user opinions.


Sighted subjects (n = 20) and subjects with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) (n = 6) were recruited. The LEO Belt was evaluated on two cohorts: normally sighted subjects wearing goggles to artificially reduce peripheral vision to simulate stages of RP progression, and subjects with advanced visual field limitation from RP. Mobility speed and accuracy was assessed using simple mazes, with and without the LEO Belt, to determine its usefulness across disease severities and lighting conditions.


Sighted subjects wearing most narrowed field goggles simulating most advanced RP had increased mobility accuracy (44% mean reduction in errors, p = 0.014) and self-reported confidence (77% mean increase, p = 0.004) when using the LEO Belt. Additionally, use of LEO doubled mobility accuracy for RP subjects with remaining visual fields between 10° and 20°. Further, in dim lighting, confidence scores for this group also doubled. By patient reported outcomes, subjects largely deemed the device comfortable (100%), easy to use (92.3%) and thought it had potential future benefit as a visual aid (96.2%). However, regardless of severity of vision loss or simulated vision loss, all subjects were slower to complete the mazes using the device.


The LEO Belt improves mobility accuracy and therefore confidence in those with severely restricted peripheral vision. The LEO Belt’s positive user feedback suggests it has potential to become the next generation of visual aid for visually impaired individuals. Given the novelty of this approach, we expect navigation speeds may improve with experience.

Klíčová slova:

Light – Pets and companion animals – Vibration – Vision – Visual acuity – Visual impairments – Visual system – Retinitis pigmentosa


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2019 Číslo 10
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