Enhancing eye movement control in Virtual Reality: Ocular Biofeedback Training and its potential implications for Attention Deficits

Poster Presentation: Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 2:45 – 6:45 pm, Pavilion
Session: Eye Movements: Clinical

Tchiya Ben Joseph1,2, Alexander Rivkind1, Ofer Karp1, Ehud Ahissar1, Yair Zvilchovsky Zvilchovsky2, Yoram Bonneh2; 1weizmann institute of science, 2Bar Ilan University

The visual system relies on intricate closed-loop networks, encompassing both conscious and semi-conscious processes. Our research investigates the hypothesis that training semi-conscious eye movement processes in individuals with attention deficits can elicit adaptive changes, promoting novel scanning patterns and potentially ameliorating attention-related deficits. To achieve this, we developed a dynamic virtual reality (VR) setup, incorporating ocular biofeedback training, which responds to subject eye movements. Presented here are preliminary results from healthy individuals engaged in a VR game demanding intense motor activity and focused attention on central stimuli. As a "manipulation assistant" we provided two tools for accurate center-focused viewing: blurring the virtual environment and introducing center-oriented music. The results demonstrate significant improvements in eye movement after manipulation, including a reduction in large saccade frequency (>6 degrees) and differences in gaze dispersion. Furthermore, the transfer of saccade inhibition ability during the retest, without manipulation, holds promising implications for therapeutic interventions targeting attention deficits and visual impairments. These findings suggest the potential efficacy of ocular biofeedback training in enhancing eye movement control and addressing related deficits within this population.