It’s probably fair to say that most of us take our ability to see for granted. Unless you know someone with impaired vision, or you’re having one of those “what would you do if” conversations, there’s a good chance you haven’t given vision loss much thought at all. But if you do know someone with impaired vision, you may have wondered what they’re experiencing when they look at the world.

Now, with the help of In My Eyes — a virtual reality and augmented reality app Intouch collaborated on — it’s possible for those without visual impairments to experience what it’s like to have three different retinal diseases. In addition to promoting empathy, the app was designed with two primary goals in mind:

  • To help healthcare professionals experience first-hand how it may feel to live with certain retinal diseases by simulating the challenges that may come with navigating everyday situations with low vision or vision impairment.
  • To facilitate more proactive and productive conversations between patients and their caregivers and healthcare providers about the very real challenges that come with vision impairment due to certain retinal diseases.

The free app is available for iOS and Android users and can be used with or without VR goggles. It features two modes: Story Mode and Live Mode. In Story Mode, users can see how common symptoms associated with retinal disease can affect everyday situations in three short videos. In Live Mode, users see how it can impact the way they navigate their own environment.

To read more about the app and the inspiration for its development, check out this recently published Fierce Pharma article.