Increasing access to glaucoma screening in low income countries with a low-cost, high-performance virtual reality perimetry system
Sarah Healey | | 2 min read | News
When it comes to automated visual field testing (VFT) for glaucoma, the Humphrey Field Analyzer (HFA) is considered the gold standard by most. But is it accessible to all?
The GlauCUTU – born out of a collaboration between the Department of Ophthalmology at Chulalongkorn University and the Faculty of Engineering at Thammasat University in Thailand – aims to offer a promising new pathway for VFT. Consisting of a VR headset and deep learning algorithms, the new perimetry system provides results clinically comparable to the HFA.
Researchers evaluated the GlauCUTU perimetry system in 31 participants – including eight glaucoma patients – and found that the GlauCUTU effectively differentiated glaucomatous eyes from normal eyes, with a shorter average test duration than HFA (1). Patient comfort was also reported to be greater in the GlauCUTU than HFA, likely because the former does not require a fixed head position.
Certainly, these benefits are all encouraging, but the GlauCUTU has another couple of important tricks up its sleeve. First, it is cost effective – contrast GlauCUTU’s $1000 price tag with the cost of a new HFA (around $40,000). Second, it is highly portable (2). Visanee Tantisevi, one of the researchers of the study, says, “As accessibility to HFA in low-resource countries is limited, a novel VR technology that is portable and inexpensive has the potential to improve glaucoma care.”
Although developments are still underway, Tantisevi is hopeful that the GlauCUTU will be implemented as an effective glaucoma screening device in Thailand’s national health care system, before making its way into other low income areas and improving the standard and accessibility of VFT worldwide.
- P Kunumpol et al., “GlauCUTU: Virtual Reality Visual Field Test,” Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, 7416 (2021). PMID: 34892811.
- ESCRS, “Virtual Perimetry Reaches More” (2022). Available at: https://bit.ly/3Vb0Ute.