Vision simulator provides interactive tool highlighting the vision loss caused by retinal diseases


The Vision Simulator shows disease progression and vision loss simulations for diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, AMD, XLRP, and achromatopsia.

Image credit: AdobeStock/Ayesha

(Image credit: AdobeStock/Ayesha)

It’s an old adage that knowledge is power, which is especially true when it comes to health. By receiving a diagnosis, patients gain the knowledge of how their condition may progress as well as any treatments that can prevent or reverse symptoms. Understanding a condition can empower family members and caregivers to better assist those who may be experiencing low vision or vision loss. Researchers work to understand diseases to better develop treatments and provide better outcomes for patients.

Seeing through patients’ eyes

Online tools can empower those who are experiencing vision changes to understand their condition as well as communicate their lived experience with those around them. One such online tool providing this knowledge is the Vision Simulator on This tool shows disease progression and vision loss simulations for diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), and achromatopsia.1

The Vision Simulator1 provides a page for each of these diseases. On the disease page, visitors will find a short video that summarizes the condition, an interactive patient perspective of healthy vision and vision affected by the disease, a cellular view, and an example of an optical coherence tomography scan. Some of the diseases also feature a 3D model that allows the user to explore inside the eye to better see exactly where the disease is affecting the organ.1 These elements provide a well-rounded introduction to some of the most prominent retinal diseases seen in ophthalmic offices through visuals and everyday language, making them accessible to patients and their families. In this case, knowledge can foster empathy and provide a point of reference that is easily shared and referred to.

Gaining knowledge through retinal research

This introduction to common retinal conditions is part of the larger goals in the pharmaceutical and ophthalmic community. Janssen is in the process of developing gene therapies for inherited retinal diseases, such as achromatopsia and XLRP, as well as geographic atrophy caused by AMD.2

Several other companies, including 4DMT, Adverum, Alvotech, EyePoint Pharmaceuticals, and Ocular Therapeutix, have also focused on developing AMD treatments in early 2024.3 In the inherited retinal disease space, Stargardt disease and RP remain among the top areas of study as findings from clinical trials continue to progress our understanding of these genetic blinding conditions.

The value of this research is not only a hope for the future for patients currently facing decreasing vision and blinding conditions but also for those who have yet to develop or be diagnosed with such conditions. By continuing to conduct trials, understand the mechanisms of disease, and communicate clearly with patients about the nature of their conditions and treatment options, the ophthalmic community is gaining knowledge, empowering each other, and working toward a future with better sight for all.

1. Experience the Vision Simulator. Janssen. Accessed April 15, 2024.
2. Janssen Retina’s research dares to envision a world of healthy sight. Janssen. Accessed April 15, 2024.
3. Crago SM. Clinical trials: companies tackle AMD in early 2024. Modern Retina. April 2, 2024. Accessed April 18,2024.
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