James (jamesj): My name is James Blaha, co-founder and CEO of Vivid Vision. We use virtual reality to help people with lazy eye improve their vision in the optometry clinic. I started working on this about a year and a half ago to try and improve my own lazy eye (amblyopia and strabismus), and ended up gaining depth perception for the first time in my life!

Tuan (tuanvivid): Dr. Tran is an optometrist with a background in vision therapy and rehabilitation. During his residency, many of his patients struggled to stay compliant with patching and quickly got bored with current amblyopia treatments. He felt there must be a better way to make it fun for his patients.

We've recently launched to eye clinics nation wide and are currently doing research at UCSF. Here is a short video about the system and an article about us and others using video games for amblyopia.

Proof here.

EDIT: OK guys, it's been great! I'm heading out for now but I'll continue to answer any questions that pop up, just not as quickly as before :)

Comments: 73 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

Marekexp5 karma

In the beggining when you started as Diplopia I thought it was all about making an app/game for the Oculus Rift that everyone with lazy eye(like me) could just download or buy, turn it on twice a day and after several months gain better vision and stereo. Is there any chance that by buying Oculus I can still do that? I am living in a country where I won't find those eye clinics of yours, so unfortunately that is the only chance for me.

jamesj8 karma

Yes, we still plan on releasing the home version of the game along with the consumer version of the Oculus Rift. It should be Q1 next year.

PhtevenPhtielberg3 karma

My right eye is lazy-ish. I can't read with it. I can see just fine and it doesn't bother me but I think it's genetic because my dad has it too, I'm 23 now....is it too late to train this eye to be more useful to me?

jamesj10 karma

23 is not too late! I gained stereo for the first time at 27, and we've seen good results from people in their 50s and 60s. Whether or not it would work for your specific visual conditions is hard to say without being examined by an optometrist.

dkhertz3 karma

I had three operations and patches as a child, which didn't correct my amblyopia, so the condition has stayed with me into adult life. It's affected my confidence and has at times caused me anxiety in social situations.. I turned 40 this year and hope of a treatment was fading, so I was very happy to hear about your project and the results from your test teams. Steam would be the ideal platform for me, SteamVR is shaping very well. Are there any plans to bring the package to UK eye clinics?

jamesj1 karma

Yes, we plan to expand to the UK later this year, once we figure out all the necessary paperwork. We have several clinics in the UK interested.

WalropsHunter2 karma

This is seriously amazing for me to imagine. I was born with a lazy eye and it was recognized at 6 months, I had about 6 surgeries over the next few years and it was somewhat corrected to where I now have 2 functioning eyes. My main use is in my right but if I close my right I can use my left. Depth Perception has been a pipe dream for a while so reading this has gotten me all giddy!! I hope a clinic in my area carries this soon but if not I'll be opting for the home version next year.

I'm also a photographer and with that this excites and scares me. The way you describe the forest sounds phenomenal, I love nature and I love the way I see it. I've even embraced it to where my photography name is Lazy Eye Photo (logo to follow ;).

This is winded but my 2 questions are: Is there a decrease over time? As in are the treatments required to be continuous or once it's fixed is it fixed?

Does the laziness of the eye change? Like are people going to still ask me every once in a while why I'm looking at the wall over there instead of them?

jamesj1 karma

In my experience you don't need to keep using the software to keep it up. It is kind of like an atrophied muscle, once it is strong enough for daily use that should be enough.

My friends and family tell me it is a lot less noticeable than it used to be. People would always think I wasn't giving them eye contact, and now people don't tell me that. I had a pretty small angle strabismus to start with, though.

mucocele2 karma

Do you worry about intractable diplopia? Do patients sign a release regarding the risks?

jamesj1 karma

This is really our only concern. We've been very careful to avoid any possibility of intractable diplopia in the home version, and anything that has the risk of developing it is left to the clinical version, where doctors can make the final decision.

CharlesDorton1 karma

What is the most pleasant surprise each of you have come across since starting this project?

As a company in the health field, I have heard it is exceedingly rare that someone finds success so early.

James, do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, or fellow young people who wish to make a difference in the world?

And for Dr. Tran a comment and a couple questions; Your name is awesome!

When you met James, how did you initially feel about the project?

How do you feel now?

About how effective would you say is Vivid Vision in comparison to traditional treatments?

(and a final comment;) Your company has been an inspiration to me personally. I always wanted to find ways to help others, as I have dyslexia and I had a very difficult time with (perspective problems) in school. Thanks for being great people, and making a great company. I hope to see you guys do big things in the future!

jamesj5 karma

What is the most pleasant surprise each of you have come across since starting this project?

How pleasant it is to see a forest with depth. I spent my first few months of having depth perception in San Francisco, when I finally got out to Muir Woods it just blew me away how much more beautiful a forest is when you can see into it.

James, do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, or fellow young people who wish to make a difference in the world?

My advice is to build something that is useful to yourself and to others, then go out and talk about it. It is kind of a cliche, but don't be discouraged by everyone saying it can't be done. It probably can be with enough work.

avaseyrockz1 karma

Which was your most annoying eye surgery?

jamesj3 karma

My parents considered eye surgery for me when I was younger, but I never got it. The reason being that the doctors told us it would just be cosmetic, it wouldn't improve my vision.

sirGustav1 karma

Not based in the us or anywhere near, but I do have a dk1, dk2, hydras and leapmotion laying around here.

When/if will this 'home version' be released on steam (for example) and will it be any point using it if not accompanied with a 'clinical version' and doctors/people with medical expertise?

jamesj1 karma

We plan to release it along with the CV1 early next year. The home version can optionally share data with your eye care professional, but, depending on your local laws, it won't require an eye doctor to use it.

TerpBE1 karma

My 6 year old son had had two eye surgeries, but still has intermittent strabismus. This sounds like a great solution, but I know very little about "Oculus rift". If I wanted to use your program, about how much would it cost for all of the necessary hardware and software?

jamesj1 karma

Right now, the only way to use it is in a clinic with our system. You can find a doctor here, or if there isn't one near you can let you know when there is.

The final price of the first Oculus Rift is still not known, but it will probably be around $400, and the final price of our software isn't pinned down yet but will probably be less than a 100 dollars.

marleen011 karma

Thank you so much. Will you be sending out the Oculus Rift VR for the people with Lazy Eye? I sent an email way before to you, you replied that when the consumer version is released you will ship it. I already got the beta.

By the way, as far as I know, not many doctors are studying about this. My parents found out my Lazy Eye when I was 3. I am 15 now, and my left eye sees only %15-20. I hope you will find a cure to this. Thank you.

jamesj1 karma

We will send out some free Rifts when the CV1 releases, early next year. We've already sent out a bunch of Rifts to people, but we got way more requests than we have Rifts to send out.

Go to the doctor locator to see if there is a location near you. If not, we can let you know when there is.

dadneedsdecaf1 karma

Are there any plans to release a version of the software for Google Cardboard, in order to bring down the cost of the hardware aspect of the system?

jamesj2 karma

I think most people will be using VR through their phones. We will definitely support android VR (and probably iphone VR too) so people can use the home version on something like Google Cardboard (but, hopefully better). Cardboard as it is today just isn't good enough yet.

wduwk1 karma

I was SUPER stoked when I first heard about this. How much do you think your individual bundle cost? What will the system requirements be like? Is it demanding?

I will be reaching out to my local eye doctor. She is really great and knows a lot about the eye problems we have. I'm going to see if she would be interested in this.

jamesj1 karma

The system requirements will be the same as the CV1. The Rift doesn't have a final price yet and we don't either.


milesmarrero1 karma

How many patients have been successfully cured of diplopia/ gained depth perception like yourself? How long did it take playing with the game to attain depth perception? If I haven't ever had 3-D binocular vision, is it still possible to attain it at age 19?

jamesj2 karma

We've had a large proportion of our alpha and beta testers tell us that their vision has improved, and we keep hearing about good results from use in the clinic. It would be hard to put an exact number on this since the results fall along a spectrum. We have our initial results back from our study at UCSF, and they look good so far, but we really need to complete the masked and controlled study to answer this with 100% confidence.

We've seen good results in people in their 50's and 60's. I had no depth perception until I was 27 (last year), so 19 is definitely NOT too old!

Christoferjh1 karma

Is the gained depth perception temporal (only during use of vr headset) or is it instantly noticeable in the real world?

jamesj4 karma

At first, it is just in the VR headset while we are modifying things to help over come suppression of the weak eye. For me, after a few weeks of having stereo only in the headset, I started to have it on close objects in the real world as well. After a couple more weeks, the range where I had stereo extended and now it is about 90% normal.

bhgfrghkkkjgggghjipp1 karma

Have you made any other games prior to this? What headsets are you making this game for?

jamesj2 karma

We've made a few small games before this. We have a couple of experts in the video game industry giving us advice and helping us make good games.

The system currently works for the DK1 and DK2, but we plan on supporting all the major displays once they come out, including android based displays like Gear VR as well as PC displays like Vive and CV1.

bhgfrghkkkjgggghjipp3 karma

Cool! Looking forward to trying it out when I get my vive. Good luck going forward with your project!

jamesj2 karma

I'm hoping to get a dev Vive soon!

Jooey_K1 karma

Hey guys,

I've had double vision my entire life. (Horror fusionis, amblyopia, lazy eye, strabismus). Reading about your project gives me some sort of hope that one day I could actually see real 3d and single vision. I signed up on your website, but sadly there's nowhere in the Dallas area that has it right now. I've never had depth perception either. I was told surgery isn't an option.

When the rift comes out, I may buy one just so I can use your program. Do you have any information as to when this will be available for purchase? Or plans to get the program at more clinics?

tuanvivid1 karma

We appreciate you following us! I am visiting all the optometry schools in the US and working with the faculties to integrate the units into their clinics. Many private practices have also incorporated our unit since we launched. You can view our doctor locator on our website, www.seevividly.com and submit your information. If a clinic becomes available, we can contact you. Also, the consumers version was recently announced and will be coming sometime next year.

jamesj3 karma

Just to add to this, the home version will release alongside the CV1, which is schedule for Q1 next year.

lfgk1 karma

What kinds of differences are planned for the home version compared to the clinical version?

jamesj3 karma

The clinical version is a set of tools and games for eye clinics to assess and treat amblyopia. The focus is on vision testing and mini-games, since sessions will be short and spread out for office visits.

The home version will be a full game, complete with a story, something you could really sit down and play for a long time. It will be more automatic, and the data collected by playing the game can be shared with your optometrist. Anything that might have a risk associated with it, that will need oversight from a doctor will not be in the home version.