2007 Dr. Frank H. Netter Award Recipient
Virtual Eye/Virtual House
UIC Department of Pharmacy Practice and VR MedLab, and Allergan

Imagine yourself as a tiny observer inside the human eye. The UIC three-dimensional virtual model of an eye presents an immersive, stereoscopic experience that allows a user to virtually enter the eye to gain an understanding of anatomy, common eye diseases, and methods of drug delivery for the treatment of ocular disease. Created by a team of experts including ophthalmologists, a pharmacist, computer programmers, and experts in biomedical visualization; this educational tool adds new depth in the ability to communicate information about sight. Dynamic features such as the ability to scale, rotate, and view the model from any angle allow users to interact with a realistic model of the eye rather than merely observe it in two dimensional photographs or illustrations. The level of sophistication of the model allows it to be used for everything from patient education to training for physicians specializing in ophthalmology.

A companion virtual model of a common scene (interior of a house) shows defects in the visual field that are associated with ocular pathology. Team member, Mary Rasmussen, describes one of the goals, “We wanted to use the power of virtual reality technology to better communicate the diminished vision caused by disease processes.” This is accomplished with stereovision that can demonstrate different visual defects in each eye. The realism of the model emphasizes the extent to which eye diseases interfere with normal vision and the difficulties encountered by people with visual defects.