Telling someone that they’re losing their sight probably ranks among the most emotionally charged conversations a physician can have with a patient. Empathy is imperative in such conversations, but sometimes it takes a back seat to clinical next steps. But if this is a conversation between a patient and their physician, how could pharma possibly help facilitate empathy? By employing virtual and augmented reality.

“Degenerative eye disorders are already an emotional issue for physicians and patients to handle; physicians have to communicate with patients who are hearing for the first time that their vision is deteriorating, that it might get worse, that they could lose their sight,” says Intouch vice president and executive creative director Brent Scholz. “ … So building empathy among physicians and caregivers who must communicate with patients in such situations was a goal of the Eylea brand team from the beginning.”

The project Scholz is talking about is In My Eyes, an VR/AR app Intouch Solutions developed with client Regeneron. The app simulates three degenerative eye diseases — wet AMD, diabetic macular edema and macular edema — and allows users to experience firsthand what patients with may be going through as their eye conditions progress.

Last year, PM360 named Scholz one of its PM360 Elite for his work on the project. But more importantly, In My Eyes has been a huge success and has already achieved what it set out to do: build empathy and understanding for vulnerable patients. Read more about the project in this article, written by Scholz and published in Med Ad News.