IrisVision Benefits Visually Impaired

Lutheran SeniorLife’s low vision department recently purchased an innovative piece of technology that is restoring seniors’ vision and providing an Abundant Life®.

It’s called IrisVision – a visual enhancement system that uses virtual reality and a smartphone to help people with a wide range of low vision conditions.

From reading at home to enjoying outdoor activities, IrisVision is allowing those with vision loss to see the world through clear lenses.

“It helps people with all visual deficits,” said Georgiann Dieteman, occupational therapist at Lutheran SeniorLife. “There are so many modes within the device that there’s really no limits to what it can do.”

In as little as just a few training sessions, the user can fully operate the device with comfort and control.

“We work one-on-one with IrisVision staff to tailor the device to each person’s needs,” Dieteman said. “This allows us to go through each of the modes and find what works best.”

Some of the many modes include scene mode, which replicates vivid color and RP mode, which recovers glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa patient’s peripheral vision.

“Many of our patients have lost their color receptors due to macular degeneration,” Dieteman said. “So for this device to let them see color again is just amazing.”

Though a specific instance stands out to Dieteman when it comes to IrisVision’s success.

“I’d been working with a gentleman who suffered from vision loss due to multiple sclerosis, and when he put the glasses on, he said it was the best he’d seen in years,” Dieteman said. “He saw his family’s faces, he could read small print; he could even see the clocks across the room.”

Tales such as this one eventually resulted in Lutheran SeniorLife purchasing the device once staff realized the potential of IrisVision.

“It eliminates the need for multiple low vision aids, and that makes it a great piece of technology,” Dieteman said. “We have a lot of low-tech items, but we were missing this comprehensive piece that is a great fit for any age range.”

Approximately 20 people have tested IrisVision through Lutheran SeniorLife’s low vision rehabilitation program since its initial trial began.

Dieteman said future plans will revolve around person-centered care to ensure each individual obtains the best device for their visual needs.

All in all, this makes the glimpse into the future of healthcare an exciting one.

“I have people in their late 90s using Amazon Alexa, and they are so enthusiastic,” Dieteman said. “They love having something to help with daily tasks, whether it’s setting reminders to take their medication or delivering today’s weather forecast.”
If you or a loved one are seeking an improved quality of life through visual retraining, please contact us at (724) 452-3492 or outpatienttherapy@lutheranseniorlife.org.