Dental Tribune America

Google Glass may obstruct peripheral vision

By Dental Tribune International
November 10, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Interest in wearable head-mounted display systems such as Google Glass is increasing, even in the dental setting. However, their effect on vision is still largely unknown. Now, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, have found that the glasses partially obstructed peripheral vision.

In order to assess the effect of the head-mounted device on visual function compared with regular eyewear, the researchers performed perimetric visual field tests with three healthy individuals who used Google Glass in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions for 60 minutes. Afterwards, the test was repeated with the participants wearing a control frame of similar color and temple width.

According to the researchers, the testing demonstrated significant scotomas, also known as blind spots, in all three participants while wearing the device, creating a visual field obstruction in the upper right quadrant. The scotomas were due to the frame design only and not to software-related interference, they said.

In addition, 132 photographs of people wearing Google Glass were analyzed to assess how the device is worn by general consumers. The researchers stated that many wear the device almost overlapping their pupillary axis, which may induce scotomas and thus interfere with daily activities (such as driving), pedestrian safety, and sports.

As the study was limited to a small number of participants, it may not be representative of all users. The researchers therefore emphasized that more research, including a larger sample, is needed to identify factors that influence scotoma size and depth.

Google Glass is a wearable hands-free miniature computer that displays information directly in the user's field of view, similar to a pilot's head-up display. It became available to the U.S. public in May 2014. In September 2015, HubSpider, the technical online marketing section of Curaden that specializes in information technology solutions for dental practices, presented a new Google Glass solution for dental professionals.

The study, titled "Wearable Technology With Head-Mounted Displays and Visual Function," was published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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