Night-vision aid using see-through display for patients with retinitis pigmentosa

  • Yasuhiro IkedaEmail author
  • Shunji Nakatake
  • Jun Funatsu
  • Kohta Fujiwara
  • Takashi Tachibana
  • Yusuke Murakami
  • Toshio Hisatomi
  • Shigeo Yoshida
  • Hiroshi Enaida
  • Tatsuro Ishibashi
  • Koh-Hei Sonoda
Clinical Investigation



From an early stage, retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients suffer from night blindness which causes nocturnal mobility difficulties. We created a wearable visual aid that uses a high-performance see-through display, and added a high-sensitivity camera with a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor sensor. Here, we evaluate the device’s efficacy for helping night-blindness sufferers walk in the dark.

Study design

Prospective clinical study.


Twenty-eight subjects underwent binocular visual acuity testing in the dark without (power off) and with (power on) the device. The test was carried out in a darkened room. We recorded the number of trial errors and the time it took each subject to arrive at the goal both with and without the aid of our device.


Our device effectively assists walking in RP patients with mobility problems in the dark.


Binocular visual acuity in the dark was significantly improved with the aid of our device. In the walking test, the number of errors decreased greatly with the device, and the travel time was significantly shortened.


see-through display visual aids night blindness retinitis pigmentosa 



We gratefully thank Mr. Masatoshi Tate and Toshiki Tsujinaka for their critical feedback on this study. We also gratefully thank Miss Hiroko Seto, Mrs. Mutsumi Yao, Miss Miyuki Yamao and Miss Yuina Hayashida for their assistance in the walking test. This study was funded by HOYA Co., Ltd..

Conflicts of interest

Y. Ikeda, Grant (Alcon, Bayer, HOYA, Santen), Lecture fees (Alcon, Bayer, HOYA, Nidek, Santen); S. Nakatake, None; J. Funatsu, None; K. Fujiwara, None; T. Tachibana, None; Y. Murakami, Grant (Rohto, Santen); T. Hisatomi, Grant (Alcon, Bayer, Santen); S. Yoshida, Grant (Bonac), Lecture fees (Alcon, Bayer); H. Enaida, Grant (Alcon), Donation (HOYA, Santen), Equipment (Nidek), Lecture fees (Alcon, Santen); T. Ishibashi, Lecture fees (Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, Bayer, Chuo Sangio, HOYA, Kowa, Novartis, Santen); K. Sonoda, Grant (Alcon, HOYA, Santen), Lecture fees (AbbVie, Alcon, Santen, Wakamoto).

Supplementary material

10384_2018_644_MOESM1_ESM.tiff (7.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 The comparison between our see-through displays. The display of our new device (b) has a better performance both in view size and image quality, compared to our previous one (a) [15]. (TIFF 7502 kb)

Supplementary material 2 The walking test with the device (power off). The subject (No. 3) walked toward the goal with the device (power off). He stumbled over the first black carpet. He could not walk without orientation. (MP4 56709 kb)

Supplementary material 3 The walking test with the device (power on). The same subject (No. 3) walked with the device (power on). He could recognize all gates and successfully walk toward the goal. (MP4 32832 kb)


  1. 1.
    Russell S, Bennett J, Wellman JA, Chung DC, Yu ZF, Tillman A, et al. Efficacy and safety of voretigene neparvovec (AAV2-hRPE65v2) in patients with RPE65-mediated inherited retinal dystrophy: a randomised, controlled, open-label, phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2017;390:849–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bainbridge JW, Mehat MS, Sundaram V, Robbie SJ, Barker SE, Ripamonti C, et al. Long-term effect of gene therapy on Leber’s congenital amaurosis. N Engl J Med. 2015;372:1887–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jacobson SG, Cideciyan AV, Aguirre GD, Sumaroka A, Schwartz SB, Heon E, et al. Improvement and decline in vision with gene therapy in childhood blindness. N Engl J Med. 2015;372:1920–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Edwards TL, Jolly JK, Groppe M, Barnard AR, Cottriall CL, Tolmachova T, et al. Visual Acuity after Retinal Gene Therapy for Choroideremia. N Engl J Med. 2016;374:1996–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Schwartz SD, Regillo CD, Lam BL, Eliott D, Rosenfeld PJ, Gregori NZ, et al. Human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium in patients with age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt’s macular dystrophy: follow-up of two open-label phase 1/2 studies. Lancet. 2015;385:509–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mandai M, Watanabe A, Kurimoto Y, Hirami Y, Morinaga C, Daimon T, et al. Autologous induced stem-cell-derived retinal cells for macular degeneration. N Engl J Med. 2017;376:1038–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Berson EL, Mehaffey L 3rd, Rabin AR. A night vision device as an aid for patients with retinitis pigmentosa. Arch Ophthalmol. 1973;90:112–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Berson EL, Mehaffey L 3rd, Rabin AR. A night vision pocketscope for patients with retinitis pigmentosa: design considerations. Arch Ophthalmol. 1974;91:495–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Morrissette DL, Marmor MF, Goodrich GL. An evaluation of night vision mobility aids. Ophthalmology. 1983;90:1226–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Friedburg C, Serey L, Sharpe LT, Trauzettel-Klosinski S, Zrenner E. Evaluation of the night vision spectacles on patients with impaired night vision. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1999;237:125–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Spandau UH, Wechsler S, Blankenagel A. Testing night vision goggles in a dark outside environment. Optom Vis Sci. 2002;79:39–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bowers AR, Luo G, Rensing NM, Peli E. Evaluation of a prototype minified augmented-view device for patients with impaired night vision. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2004;24:296–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hartong DT, Jorritsma FF, Neve JJ, Melis-Dankers BJ, Kooijman AC. Improved mobility and independence of night-blind people using night-vision goggles. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2004;45:1725–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hartong DT, Kooijman AC. Night-vision goggles for night-blind subjects: subjective evaluation after 2 years of use. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2006;26:490–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ikeda Y, Suzuki E, Kuramata T, Kozaki T, Koyama T, Kato Y, et al. Development and evaluation of a visual aid using see-through display for patients with retinitis pigmentosa. Jpn J Ophthalmol. 2015;59:43–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sugawara T, Hagiwara A, Hiramatsu A, Ogata K, Mitamura Y, Yamamoto S. Relationship between peripheral visual field loss and vision-related quality of life in patients with retinitis pigmentosa. Eye (Lond). 2010;24:535–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japanese Ophthalmological Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasuhiro Ikeda
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shunji Nakatake
    • 1
  • Jun Funatsu
    • 1
  • Kohta Fujiwara
    • 1
  • Takashi Tachibana
    • 1
  • Yusuke Murakami
    • 1
  • Toshio Hisatomi
    • 1
  • Shigeo Yoshida
    • 3
  • Hiroshi Enaida
    • 4
  • Tatsuro Ishibashi
    • 1
  • Koh-Hei Sonoda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology, Graduate School of Medical SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Ocular Pathology and Imaging Science, Graduate School of Medical SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.Department of OphthalmologyKurume University School of MedicineFukuokaJapan
  4. 4.Department of OphthalmologySaga University Faculty of MedicineSagaJapan

Personalised recommendations