Mobility Enhancement and Vision Rehabilitation

HMS Ophthalmology Center of ExcellenceCenter of Excellence

Vision Rehab


Lotfi Merabet, OD, PhD, MPH
Joseph F. Rizzo III, MD

See a list of Mobility Enhancement
and Vision Rehabilitation faculty

Members of the Mobility Enhancement and Vision Rehabilitation Center are developing and applying real-world and virtual environments for research, clinical assessment, and rehabilitation training. Our researchers aim to help individuals with low vision maximize their remaining sight and improve their quality of life and independence.  

Low vision refers to moderate-to-severe vision loss that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery. Low vision affects nearly 14 million Americans and can result from disease or injury to the eye or brain. Low vision may make it difficult to read, recognize faces, watch TV, drive, or see at night.

Our faculty are focused on developing novel and innovative low-vision aids and evaluation techniques for those with partial visual field loss from stroke, traumatic brain injuries, central vision loss from AMD, and peripheral field vision loss from glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa so they can navigate and move more safely on foot and by car.

Major Research Breakthroughs

In the last 20 years, our investigators have achieved many research milestones. Notably, they have: 

  • Spearheaded the Boston Retinal Implant Project, a retina prosthesis designed to restore useful vision to patients who are blind from age-related macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa
  • Developed auditory-based video games for improving navigation and other cognitive skills in blind adolescents
  • Developed a vision-assistive device that detects potential hazards in the environment and reduces risk of collision for those who are blind or have visual field loss
  • Developed eyeglasses that use high-power prisms to optically expand the visual fields of patients with hemianopia
  • Developed the Boston Blink-netic Project, which has successfully treated patients with eyelid paralysis using a nonsurgical approach of embedding a magnet in biocompatible material and adhering it to the eyelid skin

2020 Vision: Promising Areas for Future Research

Looking to the future, our investigators hope to develop more advanced head-mounted displays that use improved computer and image processing software to assist patients with visual impairments.

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