SINGAPORE (Jan 11): Immersive technology is ­increasingly being deployed in various fields other than electronic games and entertainment. 

Take medicine for example, where Singapore start-up BetaSight is using virtual reality (VR) headsets to make the diagnosis of glaucoma easier. 

Glaucoma is an eye condition in which the optic nerve is damaged as a result of ­abnormally high pressure in the eye. If the damage continues, it can cause permanent vision loss. 

BetaSight’s solution tracks a patient’s eye movements in response to pop-up virtual objects generated by the VR headset.

According to BetaSight’s founders, the current process of diagnosis can be taxing and lead to skewed results. One of the start-up’s investors even had to take the test twice, and was charged double the price.

With BetaSight’s VR headsets, patients do not have to sit still or press any buttons – unlike the traditional procedure which uses a visual field analyser.

Instead, they only have to put on the VR headset and track the virtual objects with their eyes, which is more intuitive than pressing a button. A person who has glaucoma will have a diminished field of vision and not be able to spot all of the virtual objects.

The VR headset is portable and considerably less bulky than the visual field analyser equipment in use today.

In our latest issue of The Edge Singapore (Issue 864, week of Jan 14), Betasight’s founders Martin Sawtell and Corey Manders tell us how they first came up with the idea of using VR technology to diagnose glaucoma, as well as discuss the enormous potential of VR and AR technologies.

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