Virtual reality shows promise in diagnosing learning disabilities

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This news was originally posted on, on September 17, 2022

LAS VEGAS — Virtual reality technology may offer promising new opportunities in diagnosing vision problems and learning disabilities such as dyslexia in children, according to a presentation at Vision Expo West.

Jeffrey Williamson, BS, MS, MBA, CEO of Engineus and one of the creators of the VisionWearX multisensory screening and diagnosis tool, and Zeshan Khan, BS, MS, founder and CEO of Xenon-VR, said virtual reality can simulate a dyslexic lens in a virtual testing environment by stimulating the brain the same way that commercially available tinted lenses do in patients with dyslexia.

“The problem with the current paradigm, and why only 2% to 3% of [eye care providers] do any type of learning disability diagnostic, is that it's time consuming,” Williamson said. “You can spend, on average, between six and eight 1-hour sessions for an 8-year-old to properly get diagnosed. It’s extremely expensive, and 90% of the insurance carriers will not reimburse. What 8-year-old wants to be put through that? We found the solution.”

The technician can control the virtual environment to make the testing process more enjoyable for the patient while the doctor analyzes the patient’s eye behavior with an array of built-in modules.

“Do I need to put them in outer space? Do I need to put them in the woods or at the beach? Simple. We control that,” Williamson said. “It's recorded that 80% of learning comes through the visual pathway. Dyslexia isn't a visual problem, per se, but it has a visual component, more often not, and you as ECPs are a great first line of defense.”

Virtual reality headsets like the VisionWearX are also able to incorporate bioinformatic feedback such as heart and respiratory rate monitoring and EEG wavelengths, which can further increase the return on investment for doctors who incorporate VR into their practices, according to the presenters.

“The question is not ‘Why not use AR [augmented reality], VR and mixed reality?’ It’s ‘Why are you not doing it now?’” Williamson concluded. “You now see why I get up every morning doing what I'm doing. This is life changing. You have the ability to make an impact.”

Key Area
virtual reality
learning disabilities


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