AR Computer To Terminate Eyestrain And Myopia

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 by Benjamin Buckner, MD on September 28, 2021.


Introduction

In humans, prolonged contraction of the ciliary and medial rectus muscles during close reading will result in eye strain.

On the other hand, eye strain will not occur if the ciliary and medial rectus muscles do not contract during close reading.

The near-eye display (NED)[1] technology of Augmented reality smart glasses (AR glasses) projects computer generated images(CGI) directly onto the retina, and this provides a new way for our eyes to acquire information.

Figure 1. Projection of CGI onto the retina

Factors contributing to eyestrain and myopia

In the medical community, the main factors considered to causing eye fatigue and myopia are as follows:

1. Long-term contraction of the ciliary muscle.

2. Long-term contraction of the medial rectus muscle.

3. Insufficient exposure of the retina to sunlight.[2]

4. The eye not exhibiting peripheral myopia.[3]

5. Peripheral visual field deprivation.[4]

Disease prevention

"It is estimated that in 2020 around 2.6 billion people worldwide will have myopia and high myopia 4.99 millions."

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1082001/number-of-people-with-myopia-and-high-myopia-worldwide/

"Evidence is mounting that myopia is growing around the world, with a recent study estimating that on average, 30% of the world is currently myopic and by 2050, almost 50% will be myopic, that’s a staggering 5 billion people."

https://myopiainstitute.org/myopia/

Augmented reality smart glasses have the potential to play an important role in the prevention of asthenopia and myopia.

Termination of asthenopia

Similar in principle to an ophthalmoscope shining light into the eye, the NED optical engine of AR glasses actively projects computer-generated images(CGI) onto the retina.

①. Once any refractive errors are corrected, people of any age can receive the CGI clearly via the retina; this indicates that the light projected from the NED is indeed parallel light.

②. Once the refractive error is corrected, the CGI carried by the parallel light is naturally focused on the retina without any accommodation.  

③. By extension of the accommodation-vergence reflex, no convergence.

Therefore, there is no contraction of the ciliary and medial rectus muscle.

So by using augmented reality glasses, humans can read at close range with both the ciliary and medial rectus muscles relaxed, and the eyes will never get tired.

Prevention of myopia

AR glasses can be turned into AR computer by appending a piece of opaque material on the front of the screen to turn the see-through display into a non see-through one and installing the software you want in its host.

When using AR glasses, its translucent display allows your eyes to receive two light sources at the same time, one is ambient light from the real world, and the other is projected by the NED optical engine.

When the display becomes opaque, light from the real world will not penetrate, and your retina will only receive parallel light from the NED optical engine.

Figure 2. An augmented reality personal computer (AR Computer)


Figure 3. Attaching an opaque material on the front of the screen


• The AR Computer is equipped with a light-transmittable part around the opaque display. The opaque display allows the user to face the sun and use sunlight as the background light source. The opaque display protects the eyeball and the macula, while the light-transmittable part allows the peripheral retina to come into contact with sunlight.

• The AR Computer can be equipped with convex lenses around the opaque display. The convex lens can shorten the focal length of the light around the opaque display (i.e. the macula area) and change the light that is originally focused on the outside of the retina to the inside, turning the relative peripheral hyperopia into peripheral myopia.

Figure 4. AR Computer without convex lens
Figure 5. AR Computer with convex lens


• With the head raised, the light-transmittable part of AR Computer provides a wide field of view, eliminating the phenomenon where the peripheral visual field is deprived when reading with the head down.

Figure 6. No peripheral visual field deprivation


Thus, the AR computer can simultaneously overcome all the major factors contributing to myopia.

AR computer overcomes currently known factors

Further advantages

AR Computer can perform all the works of a traditional computer, such as word processing, browsing the web, sending and receiving emails, watching videos, etc. It also has the unique ability of AR glasses.

No reading glasses required

As long as the refractive error is corrected, people of any age can get a clear picture, so the elderly do not need reading glasses when using AR Computer.

No dizziness

As both the ciliary and medial rectus muscles are relaxed, there is no vergence-accommodation conflict (VAC), so there is no dizziness experienced by the user.

No glare

The non see-through display blocks out light sources from the real world.

Large virtual screen

The size of the perceived virtual image depends on the angle of view and the distance between the viewer and the target screen. For example, at a 34° angle of view, the image is 120 inches at a distance of 5 meters, and 240 inches at 10 meters. After being projected by the NED optical engine, when looking forward, the eyes will act like a virtual projector. Since the distance from the display to the retina remains unchanged (about 4.4cm), so does the PPI(Pixels Per Inch). No matter how big the CGI gets, the image quality doesn't go down. This makes a difference between a virtual projector and a real one.

The 4.4cm distance remains the same
The eyes act like a virtual projector

Dual-display

Millions of years of evolution have made humans masters at exploring and interacting in 3D environments. Binocular AR computer provides dual display and 3D spatial information for us.

3D

When two images are different, an IMAX-like 3D effect can be created, which can be used to view in many things—including any surgical operation in Side-By-Side (SBS) 3D format.

https://youtu.be/p-7-qSIbwSs

2.5D replaces 2D

On the other hand, when two images are identical, a visual effect somewhere between 2D and 3D can be generated, which hereafter is referred to as 2.5D. 2.5D provides a sense of depth and layering to the 2D digital world, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in the scene rather than being separated from the screen.

Hologram and spatial computing

A hologram is an interactive 3D digital image that may be moved, disassembled, assembled and changed through gestures.  It provides a way to observe, think, manipulate and explore in three dimensions.

https://youtu.be/6Gq2V59K140

https://youtu.be/H9ZOpQzjukY

Holographic technology releases the sealed digital information from behind the 2D screen of the device into the 3D space, allowing it to directly interact with the user, thus bringing us the era of spatial computing.

Without the cognitive load of converting 2D abstract information into 3D real images, spatial computing may have great potential to unleash everyone's imagination and creativity.

Supine position

The ability to use AR Computer while lying down means the muscles of the whole body are relaxed, the spine can be extended, and the vertebrae will no longer overlap and compress each other. So there will be no backaches or neck stiffness.

Dynamic reading over of static reading

The display moves with the line of sight, so the user can move their head and neck at will instead of having to look down. The light-transmitting part allows the user to see the surrounding environment even while using the AR Computer. So it encourages dynamic reading over static reading to avoid the complications of a sedentary lifestyle. In the confines of a safe environment, the user can even walk around.

Relieve eye fatigue

Once the refractive error is corrected, both the ciliary and medial rectus muscles are relaxed. Therefore, the use of AR computer may relieve eye fatigue caused by prolonged contraction of the ciliary and medial rectus muscles due to long-term close reading.

Unaffected by vehicle vibration

The display of AR Computer moves synchronously with the user’s eyes, and the images remain clear and relatively stable even on moving vehicles.

Sunlight instead of artificial light

The opaque display of the AR computer protects the eyeball and the macula, allowing the user to face the sun with sunlight as the background light source.

Immerse in nature

The opaque display of the AR computer  protects the eyeball and the macula,  and encourages users to go outdoors, in the woods, by the river, etc.

Environmentally friendly

When AR Computer users go outdoors or face the outside, the use of artificial light is reduced, saving energy and being environmentally friendly.

Conclusion

AR computer targets the presently understood mechanisms for myopic progression and may prove helpful in reducing myopic progression and relieving eyestrain. No substantive randomized trials have demonstrated its usefulness definitively.

Although its results still need to be supported by clinical trial data, the fact that AR computer overcomes the currently known factors of myopia is promising.

The emergence of NED technology has revolutionized the mechanism for reading at close range, and is undoubtedly worthy of further exploration.

With AR, the virtual world and the real world will be intertwined, and Hologram and Air Computing may become important partners in our daily lives soon.

References

  1. http://www.kessleroptics.com/portfolio/near-to-eye-displays
  2. Erica G. Landis, Victoria Yang, Dillon M. Brown, Machelle T. Pardue, Scott A. Read; Dim Light Exposure and Myopia in Children. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(12):4804-4811. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.18-24415.
  3. Alexandra Benavente-Pérez, Ann Nour, David Troilo; Axial Eye Growth and Refractive Error Development Can Be Modified by Exposing the Peripheral Retina to Relative Myopic or Hyperopic Defocus. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(10):6765-6773. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.14-14524.
  4. Smith EL 3rd, Hung LF, Arumugam B. Visual regulation of refractive development: insights from animal studies. Eye (Lond). 2014 Feb;28(2):180-8. doi: 10.1038/eye.2013.277. Epub 2013 Dec 13. PMID: 24336296; PMCID: PMC3930279.
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