INTRODUCTION: Dynamic visual acuity (DVA) refers to the ability of the eye to discern detail in a moving object and plays an important role whenever rapid physical responses to environmental changes are required, such as while performing tasks onboard a space shuttle. A significant decrease in DVA has previously been noted after astronauts returned from long-duration spaceflight (0.75 eye chart lines, 24 h after returning from space). As part of a NASA-funded, head-mounted multimodal visual assessment system for monitoring vision changes in spaceflight, we elaborate upon the technical development and engineering of dynamic visual acuity assessments with virtual reality (VR) technology as the first step in assessing astronaut performance when undergoing G-transitional effects. We also report results from an early validation study comparing VR DVA assessment with traditional computer based DVA assessment. METHODS: Various VR/AR headsets have been utilized to implement DVA tests. These headsets include HTC Vive Pro Eye system. Epic’s game engine UnrealEngine 4 Version 4.24 was used to build the framework and SteamVR was used to experience virtual reality content. Eye tracking technology was used to maintain fixation of the participant. An early validation study with five participants was conducted comparing this technology versus traditional DVA with a laptop. RESULTS: T he head-mounted technology developed for assessing DVA changes during G-transitions is fully functional. The results from the early validation study demonstrated that the two DVA tests (laptop-based and VR) indicated a strong association between both methods (Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.91). A Bland-Altman plot was employed to assess levels of agreement, with all data points falling within the limits of agreement. DISCUSSION: T he results from this early validation study indicate that head-mounted DVA assessment performs similarly to traditional laptop-based methods and is a promising method for assessing DVA during spaceflight, particularly in G-transitions. Future studies are required for further assessment of validation and reliability of this technology. With its ease of use, accessibility, and portable design, VR DVA has the potential in the near-future to replace conventional methods of assessing DVA.
- Dynamic visual acuity assessment
- Long duration spaceflight
- Ocular monitoring
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health