Sunday, August 24, 2014

18 days with the Rift

I haven't done any 'classical' vision therapy exercises since I got the rift.   This is because I think of using the Oculus Rift as vision therapy--just a lot more fun.  I've explained in previous entries why I think it works so I won't go into it too much.  Basically, I don't know, but it's hard to ignore the input of the suppressing eye when I'm in VR.  My stereo vision is improving every week.

I guess I've been thinking a bit about Benjamin's approach to vision therapy, which is sensory fusion--giving the eyes corresponding input, and using that in conjunction with eye movement exercises in order to get the brain to align the eyes.  The Oculus Rift is actually quite well suited for such an exercise, which I believe is what it does.  The visual information is planted right in your face, it integrates the vestibular system, and it provides moving input in full stereo.   I can't ignore the input.  Not only that but it's giving me the correct sterescopic input, so I'm pretty sure that it's training my brain to see in stereo via sensory fusion.

Every time I go into VR it seems more immersive, which is probably the result of my brain integrating both eyes more.  In Half-Life 2, for instance, there are load screens where the screen suddenly freezes.  It's a jarring experience, almost like getting kicked in the head.  The deeper you are in VR, and the more convinced the brain is that what it's seeing is real, the more jarring it is.

The Oculus Rift is really the ideal vision therapy device.  On top of all of all of the things it does, it's designed for games.  That was another thing that Ben and I talked about that I didn't mention in the previous entry--how boring vision therapy is--and how there is a need to make it more fun and interesting.  Well--Oculus Rift.  It's also much, much cheaper than classical vision therapy.  The DK2 is $350, and the games are dirt cheap.  Palmer Lucky, the founder of OculusVR, says they're going to sell the hardware at cost.  I anticipate the commercial version to cost around $300.  They plan on making no money with the hardware.  They just want to get VR onto as many heads as possible.  That's great news for people who want to rehabilitate their vision.

What else.  I had an email conversation with James Blaha.  The team that is developing Diplopia got their DK2s.  I explained to him that the alpha he gave me doesn't run with my DK2.  He explained that he expects to have a beta released soon which will allow for use with the DK2.  I am pumped.  Diplopia is one of the main reasons why I jumped for the DK2 and didn't simply wait for the commercial version of the Oculus Rift.  I want stereo vision now--so I can move on with my life.


  1. How would you describe exactly what happens right after you remove the device following a period of time you believe you were fully immersed and benefiting visually-therapy-wise. I.e., is your eye deviation less, if you have diplopia are the doubled objects closer, if you normally don't have diplopia, do you now invoke it temporarily, etc. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. The first time I got out of VR, I was very motion sick. That's what everyone has. After about a week I stopped getting it.

      Now nothing happens immediately after I take off the HMD.

      I do believe my eyes have straightened out a bit since I've been using the Oculus Rift. It's also fairly exhausting.

  2. Hi Andrew,
    I don't know if you remember, but I have a son who is a 20/20 alternating esotrope and we ended up doing syntonics with his O.D. and after 6 weeks his visual fields were perfect and his blind spot normal. We kickstarted the Diplopia Game back in the fall and got a copy of the game and are waiting for the Oculus Rift to come out in consumer mode or find someone who can help us with the DK2. I am interested in whether Ben thinks he can use it because his situation is much like my son...he developed strabismus and is 20/20. I am interested in talking to him about his prism VT. We are broke from VT and would like to learn how to do fusion. I am glad that are seeing such good deserve it!

    1. Hello Lynn! I talked with Ben recently about it. He's pretty busy, and he said that he might draft something out this weekend. We'll see.

      I think Diplopia is going to be great for your son. You can order the DK2. I think it takes a few months to ship. You can get it here:

      The commercial version looks like it's going to take a while to come out, perhaps a little under a year. It's definitely underway though. In my case, I definitely don't want to wait that amount of time.

    2. btw, I was talking to Ben. He's interested in talking to you if you'd like that. Let me know. Are you on Facebook or Google?