Looking Forward

Published in Wilmer - Summer 2022

While glaucoma — a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss by damaging the optic nerve — is a common source of blindness, the condition can often be treated effectively by using eye drops.

In a project aimed in part at educating patients about the importance of taking their drops, two Johns Hopkins scholars have teamed up to create a virtual reality (VR) experience.

Pradeep Ramulu, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Glaucoma Division, recently partnered with Emily Cheng, a former student in the Art as Applied to Medicine graduate program at Johns Hopkins, to create the application.

Upon putting on VR goggles, the user will see the first image: a menu of different modules rotating around the eye.

The second image shows the module that explores a three-dimensional model of the eye, highlighting anatomical features important in glaucoma.

Image three represents a task simulation. The gray spot in the center of the screen — which follows the user wherever they go — is an enactment of the visual experience of a patient with moderate-stage glaucoma.

Cheng, who received input on the project from four patients with glaucoma, says the application is a prototype that can be built upon with the ultimate goal of applying it in a patient care setting.