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Current Research in Vision Rehabilitation

Our research faculty are committed to discovering new and innovative ways to improving the lives of patients with low vision and to improving their vision rehabilitation outcomes.

Research in Action

  • Depression and Visual Impairment

    Dr. Ashley Deemer and Dr. Robert Massof suggest that low vision rehabilitation and occupational therapy can decrease the severity of depression common in visually impaired patients.

    Dr. Ashley Deemer with a low vision patient
  • Low Vision Technology

    Dr. Robert Massof adapted his original LVES system using the latest in smart phone technology and software capabilities.

    illustration of person lookin at mountains

Areas of Research

Vision Rehabilitation Outcomes

  • Dr. Robert Massof is evaluating the level of agreement among three different types of low vision rehabilitation outcome measures (patient-reported, therapist-reported, and functional performance), study the influence of therapists’ biases on estimated outcome measures, study the effects of co-morbidities and other patient states on low vision rehabilitation outcomes, and study the relationship of the effectiveness of low vision rehabilitation to its efficacy.
  • Dr. Judith Goldstein is researching the burden of low vision and strategies to connect patients with visual impairment to low vision rehabilitation services. Additionally, much of her work continues on improving methods to measure outcomes of low vision rehabilitation. 
  • Kristen Shifflett, OTR/L, CLVT is creating a treatment protocol to improve and promote wellness in individuals with low vision through goal directed support groups and peer mentor groups.
  • Jim Deremeik, RT, CLVT is investigating the impact of a formalized low vision rehabilitation network (LOVRNET) on the service delivery, outcome and impact of low vision rehabilitation intervention in the geographic areas of Delaware, Maryland and DC.

Technology Applications in Vision Rehabilitation

  • Dr. Robert Massof, Dr. Ashley Deemer, and Jim Deremeik, RT, CLVT, are investigating the use of digital image processing and augmented reality on head-mounted displays to help low vision patients substitute for the lost central vision through magnification and contrast enhancement in the performance of everyday activities.
  • Dr. Robert Massof is researching the design and clinical evaluation of a smartphone-based low vision enhancement system.

Effects of Low Vision on Patients

  • Dr. Ashley Deemer is studying the relationship between depression and chronic vision impairment including depression prevention and functional outcomes measures in patients with low vision.
  • Dr. Bonnielin Swenor is researching the interrelationship between visual impairment and aging, including the impact of vision loss on physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning among older adults.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Ultra-low Vision

  • Dr. Gislin Dagnelie, assisted by coordinator Kemi Adeyemo, systems specialist Lindsey Yang, postdoc Arathy Kartha, and grad student Roksana Sadeghi, studies the use of vision by patients whose sight is extremely limited, including those receiving artificial retina and cortical implants. We call this ultra-low vision.

    Understanding ultra-low vision helps us develop better rehabilitation methods that combine vision with assistive technology. For more information, visit the ultra-low vision lab.

Prosthetic Vision

  • Dr. Gislin Dagnelie and his team are working on two projects to restore sight to patients who have completely lost their vision, with the help of electronic implants.  One of these implants, the Argus II, is placed in the back of the eye. This treatment is covered by insurance.  The other implant type is expected to enter a clinical trial in late 2019 and will be placed in the visual cortex.
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