Millions of people worldwide have impaired vision that has never been diagnosed by a health professional. Heru is a company that hopes to change all that by providing access to automated vision testing and screening, without the aid of a trained physician.
The company’s re:Vive 2.0 takes advantage of virtual reality (VR) technology to deliver six diagnostic exams in a patient-administered process. These tests include color vision, contrast sensitivity, visual fields, and dark adaptation. The tests are covered by five existing CPT codes so that providers can bill payers for the services.
The system does not require any expensive and complex medical-grade diagnostic furniture, or special rooms set aside for testing. The lightweight VR goggles can be worn under most lighting conditions. Once the wearable is set up, the patient can run through the tests without further assistance. Real-time gaze tracking makes sure that the patient is looking at the appropriate images during the process.
Currently, the FDA-cleared platform is available to health professionals to use as part of their practice. They can use it to screen patients for common problems such as macular degeneration, cataracts, or signs of a stroke. If a problem is detected, physicians can then refer patients to vision professionals. The system is easy to take to other sites, and can be used for in-home screening or in community clinics. The system works with off-the-shelf VR goggles, and only requires Internet service and a WiFi connection. Data is stored in a HIPAA-compliant, encrypted cloud database, as well as synchronized local storage.
While this platform is currently offered only through healthcare professionals, it’s easy to see how this technology could be made available to underserved populations as well as part of comprehensive telehealth services. If it is successful, millions of people might not have to live with undiagnosed and untreated vision impairments.