AR Computers 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.

https://youtu.be/p_xLO7yxgOk

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

About 2cm in front of the eye, the Near-Eye Display (NED)[1] technology of Augmented Reality smart glasses (AR glasses) projects computer generated images/informations(CGIs) directly onto the central retina, and this provides a passive way for our eyes to acquire information.

Figure 1. Projection of CGI onto the central 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

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.

When the display becomes opaque, light from the real world will not penetrate, and your eye will only receive the light from the NED.


Similar in principle to an ophthalmoscope shining light into the eye, the NED of AR glasses actively projects CGI onto the central retina.

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

②. Once the refractive error is corrected, the CGI projected through the parallel light is naturally focused on the central retina(=macula) 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 a modified 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 computers 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 required in its host.


Thus, an AR computer can be called an ophthalmoscope with a computer host.

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


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. An AR computer without convex lens
Figure 5. An AR computer with convex lens


• With the head raised, the light-transmittable part of an 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.

An AR computer overcomes currently known factors

Further advantages

The AR computer can complete all tasks a traditional PC is capable of, such as editing documents, browsing the web, emails, media playing etc. It also has the unique ability of AR glasses.

No reading glasses required

As long as the refractive error is corrected, the parallel light will naturally focus on the retina, people of any age can get a clear picture, so the elderly do not need reading glasses when using AR computers.

No dizziness

As both the ciliary and medial rectus muscles are relaxed, there is no vergence-accommodation conflict (VAC), so there is neither dizziness nor VR motion sickness experienced by the user.

No back pain

You can take a supine position while using the AR computer. Being able to lie down means you can relax most of the muscles in your body and the intervertebral discs won't be compressed, so you won't have lower back pain.

No neck stiffness

The virtual image moves with the line of sight, so users can move their head and neck freely without having to keep looking down. Therefore, the shoulder and neck will not be stiff.

No vertebrae overlap

When using the AR computer lying down, the spine can be stretched out, the vertebrae no longer overlap each other, and the intervertebral discs are not compressed.

Less physical fatigue

Being able to lie down and use the AR computer means that most of the muscles in your body, including the ciliary and medial rectus muscles, are in a relaxed state, so your body will no longer suffer from soreness and fatigue and also save more energy than any other working position.

Dynamic reading instead of static reading

The light-transmitting part allows users to see the surrounding environment when using the AR computer, so you can change your posture and move your body at any time. Therefore, it encourages dynamic reading rather than static reading to avoid complications of a sedentary lifestyle. Users can even move around within the confines of a secure environment.

No need to turn on the lights

When we are using AR computers during the day, as long as we are facing a sunny place, we don’t need to turn on the lights.

No glare

The non see-through display blocks out light sources from the real world, and the retina only receives parallel light from the NED technology. So generally speaking there is no glare.

No isolation

The light-transmittable part of the AR computer allows users to contact the surroundings, avoiding isolation from the environment and other users.

No physical screen needed

When CGI is projected onto the retina, a virtual screen will appear in front of you and move freely with your line of sight. You can put it on the wall, on the ceiling, in mid-air, whereever you like.

Large virtual screen

After the retina is projected by the NED, the CGI is sent directly to the brain as a virtual image that does not exist in the real world. 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. This also tells us that the virtual world works differently than the real world.

The 4.4cm distance and PPI remain the same
The eyes act like a virtual projector

Dual-display

A binocular AR computer is equipped with two screens. Instead of sharing a screen, each eye has its own. So what you see will no longer be 2D, but 2.5D, 3D, 360° or holographic images.

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.

This is a visual phenomenon with a sense of depth, where each eye looks at its own 2D image without accommodation and convergence. The 2D scene that originally moved left-right horizontally in front of the eyes, will move back and forth from the sides of the head like a 3D movie, giving the audience an immersive feeling.

Hologram and spatial computing

A hologram is an interactive 3D digital image that may be moved, disassembled, assembled and changed through gestures. It provides us with 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.

Interacting with holograms requires using gestures and often getting up and moving around and looking at it from a variety of angles. This is a kind of dynamic interaction.

Without the cognitive load of converting 2D abstract information into 3D real images, spatial computing may have potential to make learning easier.

"We experience the world in three dimensions, and our visual systems and brains have adapted to processing information in this environment. With AR, the hologram makes the 3D object a natural extension of the physical world, reducing cognitive load, and thus making learning easier."

https://eml.ubc.ca/eml-hive/holobrain/

360° spherical virtual travel

With augmented reality technology and 360° spherical videos, we can walk around in the comfort of our homes and travel the universe, whether it is a real or imagined world. You can walk and explore on Mars, or you can jump into a rabbit hole to take an adventure.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HrlsOloI8Xw

AR glasses are generally equipped with gyroscope, GPS and accelerometer to track the user's position and movements of his or her body and head. During the 360° virtual tour, the user can walk around with the scenes in the movie and watch the scenery by turning his or her head and neck.

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 the AR Computer moves synchronously with the user’s eyes, and the images remain clear and 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.


Blue light

“There is no scientific evidence that blue light from digital devices causes damage to your eye.”

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/should-you-be-worried-about-blue-light

Outdoors

The opaque display of the AR computer protects the eyeball and the macula, keeps the clarify and contrast of the CGI and encourages users to go outdoors,e.g. 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.

New issues worthy of attention

The use of AR computers will raise some topics that may be worth paying attention to.

Glaucoma control

During close reading, the contraction of ciliary and medial rectus muscles can significantly increase intraocular pressure (IOP). Neither the ciliary muscle nor the medial rectus muscle contracts when the AR computer is being used. Does this help with glaucoma control?

Achievement

There is no need for reading glasses when using AR computers, and both the ciliary and medial rectus muscles are always in a relaxed state, so there is no eye strain. This could mean that by using AR computers, everyone would be able to read or watch at close range for an unlimited amount of time at a time throughout their lives. Will this improve student's achievement? Could this increase someone's lifetime achievement? For example scientists, writers. Will this contribute to the progress of humanity as a whole?

Health

For a long time, the way humans read at close range is to sit in a chair with the same posture, and keep looking down at a book or a mobile phone or computer screen, usually lasting one or two hours at a time, and maybe four to eight hours in the whole day, during which the body is generally still. This is a static reading. In the long run, a sedentary lifestyle is formed. Sitting still for long periods of time can cause complications.

https://www.who.int/news/item/04-04-2002-physical-inactivity-a-leading-cause-of-disease-and-disability-warns-who#:~:text=Sedentary%20lifestyles%20increase%20all%20causes,lipid%20disorders%2C%20depression%20and%20anxiety.

https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/the-health-hazards-of-sitting/750/

When working with the AR computer, we can take supine position with dynamic reading. When lying down to rest, most of the muscles in the body, including the ciliary and medial rectus muscles, are in a relaxed state, so we can save a lot of energy, and our body will no longer suffer from back pain, shoulder and neck stiffness, more importantly, no longer have eye strain. You can also take dynamic reading -- standing, sitting or walking -- changing positions as you like and moving your body as will. So when using the AR computer, our bodies can work, exercise and rest at the same time.

Can this way help us to be energetic and not tired after a whole day's work? Can this boost our immune system and reduce our chances of getting sick in the long run? Will this help reduce the number of episodes in patients with autoimmune disease? Will it help you be more productive at work or in school? Will this help us improve our quality of life? Does this enhance the dignity of human life?

Lying on a recliner to work or read reduces the resistance of the body's organs to gravity. Can this reduce the incidence of hernia (especially pelvic organ prolapse in women)? Can this reduce wrinkles and prolong our youth and beauty?

Lying on a recliner can reduce the workload of the heart. Does this reduce the risk of a heart attack?

The spine bears the least burden when working on a recliner. Does this reduce the risk of spine degeneration?

Holograms and learning

A hologram is an interactive 3D digital image, possessing all the visual depth cues as if it were a real object, allowing viewers to walk around it and viewing it from any angles. The size of holograms can zoom in and out to help the viewers to interact with. The hologram can be an atom, a seed, a butterfly, an apple, a locomotive, a helicopter, an aircraft carrier, a space station, a planet, or a galaxy. Compared to real objects, a hologram is a software program that has no weight and takes up no space, so you can have an unlimited number of holograms and interact with them at any time. The hologram can be taken apart, changed, and recombined. E.g. a hologram of an apple can be broken down into rind, pulp, and core. The rind can be torn apart into various tissues, the tissues can be torn apart into various cells, the cells into organelles, the organelles into proteins, the proteins into various molecules, and so on, until you get to where you want to be. This is what holograms can provide that real objects can't.

To humans, everything in the universe is three-dimensional. Over time, the human brain and vision have adapted to interact with three-dimensional objects in a 3D environment. Holograms provide the natural and instinct way for humans to interact in three dimensions. Interaction with holograms removes the cognitive burden of translating 2D information into 3D objects. So holograms can reduce the cognitive burden of human learning. The less cognitive burden there is, the easier and more fun learning will be, and the better it will be understood and absorbed.

To what extent can holograms reduce our cognitive burden? Could holograms allow us to learn everything with little or no cognitive burden in the future? Could holograms make our work or study easy and as fun as a game? Could holograms make us more productive at work or school? Could holograms boost our imagination or creativity while reducing cognitive load?

From 2D to 2.5D

Depth perception is the ability to perceive pixels present on the X, Y, and Z axes simultaneously. (X axis=Horizontal axis,Y axis=Vertical axis, Z axis=Sagittal axis). In human perception, the pixels of a 2D image are only presented on the X,Y axis. A binocular AR computer gives each eye its own screen. Each screen projects its own 2D CGIs to its corresponding eye. After these two 2D CGIs are processed by the brain, their pixels can be presented on the X, Y, Z axis, resulting in a new three-dimensional sense, called 2.5D, which makes people feel like they are on the scene when viewing 2D images. When using a binocular AR computer to watch a basketball game or concert on YouTube, you may feel as if you were there and have the best seats along with the photographers. But in fact, you are probably lying on a recliner at home, and all the muscles of your body (including the ciliary and medial rectus muscle) are relaxed and resting. Will this change the way we watch games or other performances? Will this save us energy, time, gas and money by not having to drive out? Will this be environmentally friendly?

Creating experiences instead of just watching

An AR 360° video provides an all-round view. You are completely surrounded by sights that allow you to look up, down and around. You are placed at the center of the action, and you can walk around and watch the scene from every direction. This is creating an experience rather than just watching.

Take the British Museum, for example. If the British Museum shoots the whole scene in a 360° video format and makes holographic images of all the exhibits, then visitors can interact with the exhibits in an AR 360° virtual tours. Once the resolution is high enough, the holographic display may look more appealing than the real thing.

Suppose a school child wants to learn more after interacting with an eagle's holograms, the museum can then provide him with more 3D videos about it.

The virtual tours composed of AR 360° videos, holograms and 3D videos allow users to visit the scene and experience in person in a 3D environment. From the comfort of home, everyone can visit museums and attractions around the world at any time.

Compared with actual visits to the site, virtual tours save time, money and physical energy. There is no transportation, no time limit to visit and it is friendly to the environment.

An AR 360° video allows everyone to magically instantly teleport themselves to any time and place in the universe, including any spot on Earth, to explore in person. Could this make it a new adventure mode for humanity?

How will AR 360° virtual tours, without dizziness and VR motion sickness, affect our future compared to getting information from abstract 2D media? It may be worth watching.

Conclusion

Eye fatigue and myopia have endangered human beings for thousands of years, and despite various treatments, the myopic population continues to rise.

The NED technology provides a passive way for our eyes to receive informations which is completely different from the way humans have been using their eyes to actively find objects and read information since ancient time. This has revolutionized the mechanism for reading at close range, and is undoubtedly worthy of further exploration.

Holograms have the potential to significantly reduce cognitive load and make learning easier in interesting ways. Through augmented reality, virtual and physical worlds will become intertwined, and spatial computing could become an important partner in our daily lives in the future.

Eliminating eye fatigue and myopia is the primary and fundamental responsibility of ophthalmologists to human beings.

"Myopia and high myopia estimates from 2000 to 2050 suggest significant increases in prevalences globally, with implications for planning services, including managing and preventing myopia related ocular complications and vision loss among almost 1 billion people with high myopia." [5]

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 authors of this article call on ophthalmologists around the world to use AR computers to conduct clinical trials to provide new options for humans to end eye fatigue and myopia.

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.
  5. Ophthalmology 2016;123:1036-1042 ª 2016 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology
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