Feb. 21, 1996
Media Contact: Sarah Goodwin at 404/727-5686, e-mail:

Virtual reality technology is being used to help people who are visually impaired.

Director of the Georgia-Pacific Low Vision Clinic of the Emory Eye Center, Ned S. Witkin, O.D., is letting qualified patients know about the first vision-enhancing device of its kind in Georgia and one of the first in the South.

The low vision enhancement system (LVES) is designed for patients with vision as poor as 20/800 (after correction with eyeglasses or contact lenses), many of whom are legally blind.

When patients look through the head-borne device, they "see" images which have been captured by the device's mini television cameras. The images are then "enhanced" so the patient can "see" better.

Visually impaired individuals who use the low vision enhancement system may be able to read, recognize faces and watch television - all activities most cannot do with their conventional spectacle lenses, Dr. Witkin says.

Some of the more common conditions that may be helped by the system include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences News and Information at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

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