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Technology Helps Eliminate Tunnel Vision
Camera Opens Up New World For Sufferers
BOSTON, 4:19 p.m. EST February 20, 2001 -- Fourteen million Americans have vision problems that can't be corrected with glasses, and almost 4 million of them are under the age of 45.
NewsCenter 5's Liz Brunner reports that promising research is being done at the Schepens Eye Institute in Boston. One of the new developments is a tiny video camera that miniaturizes the world so that those who suffer from the tunnel vision of retinitis pigmentosa can see more normally.
Patient Henry Apfelbaum describes his vision as looking through a tube. Doctors say that the new camera can help him and other like him.
"He sees two things together," Dr. Eli Peli said. "He sees the real world, and he sees the minified world in outline or cartoon, … so that he can notice obstacles that would be outside his visual field."
Eventually, the video camera will be small enough to mount on regular-size glasses and displayed through the lens.
Peli is also working on a device that can be attached to a TV to enhance the cloudy vision of glaucoma patients. Apfelbaum is trying out a "tri-field lens" that uses prisms.
"If I look through this lens, I see nothing straight ahead, what I see is what's off to the right and what's off to the left," he said.
The prism shows him what's on the left and on the right, creating an amalgam image. He's still getting adjusted, but he's already seeing some benefits.
"It helps me even now with something I call startle response," Apfelbaum said. "If something moves into my field suddenly, I'll notice it, and that at least makes me stop and look."
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