I love vision therapy, I have been doing it for over 2 years to help fix my lazy eye (strabismus) and it’s working! One of the huge factors in my success has been home virtual reality with Vivid Vision and Optics Trainer. Today I’m going to help you see a full comparison so you will know which one will work best for you, buckle up!
So is Vivid Vision or Optics Trainer Better for Vision Therapy? While both virtual reality programs are amazing and bring fantastic results, Vivid Vision wins out overall in a side-by-side comparison. With a large variety of games and amazing settings, your optometrist can completely tailor your plan for you! Optics Trainer has some fantastic games as well, is less expensive, and gives the patient more freedom within the app, which might be a better option for some.
For me, I seriously love both of these programs. I did Optics Trainer first and thought it was the best thing I’d ever tried. Then I got Vivid Vision and thought it was even more amazing, brilliant and helpful and it really worked my brain in a new way. Then I went back and used Optics Trainer and it was really great and I realized it had some bonus features I had missed.
Either of these apps is going to make a HUGE difference in your vision therapy journey, but picking the right one for you, your child or your clinic is important.
I will be talking about:
- Side By Side Numbers Comparision
- The Overall Flow of Each Program
- Settings: Similarities and Differences
- Cost and Subscription Options
- Successes I experienced with each program
Side By Side Comparison
I love numbers! They speak to my soul and I can’t not make comparisons, it’s just part of who I am.
This chart compares the home versions of Vivid Vision and Optics Trainer as used on the Oculus Quest. Vivid Vision is the same in the home and office versions. Optics Trainer has a few different games depending on the headset and whether it is being done in office or at home.
Optics Trainer also has two games, Contrast Camouflage and Color Discrimination, that don’t really apply to the type of Vision Therapy that I do, so I am not including them in the numbers.
|Vivid Vision||Optics Trainer|
|Cost||Variable||$50 per Month|
|Set Up Ease on Oculus Quest VR|
10- My 5-year-old could do it
1-Horrible 10-High Def
1-Lame and Boring
10- Addictively Enticing
|# of Games Total||9||6|
|Vergence Focused Activities||5||1|
|# of Tests||4||0|
|Flexibility of Settings |
1-No Adjustments Possible
10-Every Thinkable Adjustment
Both programs have great customer service, features, games, settings and they work so well, but let’s take a look at the specific differences.
Important Differences/Similarities Between Vivid Vision and Optics Trainer
Optics Trainer plays more like a normal game or app. To read more about its specifics, click here. There is a main home screen where the patient can select the game they would like to play. They can select a level (easy, medium, or hard) and play for an allotted amount of time and then receive a score. As a patient, I could play one game for 30 minutes trying to beat a high score, even though my Optometrist specifically requested that I play games x, y, and z for 6 minutes each. I can also focus on one skill for extra time if I feel the need, the patient has control.
In contrast, for Vivid Vision, the player simply clicks the “play” button on the home screen and is taken through a series of games that are pre-selected by their Optometrist. The Optometrist determines the order and game length in advance. It feels less random and more focused on the specific skills that are being developed. For kids, I feel like this is a really important feature for home therapy, but as an adult, who likes to be in control, I would like to be able to have a menu to go back and practice specific games. Click here to read more about Vivid Vision.
Is it wrong to want the best of both worlds?
If you are the developer for Optics Trainer or Vivid Vision, please take my suggestion to heart. Include BOTH abilities.
- A pre-determined program for the patient to go through that is created by the Optometrist.
- A Menu (maybe it opens only after daily exercise program is complete??) where patients can go back and play or practice specific games.
Since no program with both features exists, you have to choose the program the works best for you.
For a child, I think the pre-determined program on Vivid Vision is a must for home virtual reality. Parents can’t easily monitor which game the child is playing and make sure they are focusing on the ones that the Optometrist selects. Having the games preselected ensures the best efficacy and compliance.
For a long-term maintenance program, Optics Trainer is a great option because it offers versatility. If you are feeling like your fusion is lacking you can focus on “Tappy Birds,” if your peripheral needs stretching, 10 minutes on star search could be super helpful. Especially for adults who are done with in-office VT, Optics Trainer might be the right choice.
Side note: This article is about the home versions, but I want to mention that if you are a provider using it in your office, this doesn’t really make a difference for your patients. You can select the game for the patient in any order from the office version and see exactly what your patient is seeing for both programs.
Both programs have amazing, similar, settings that can be manipulated to work with individual patients. Vivid Vision has a few extras that take it to the next level.
MFBF- These settings help with suppression and can make it so that while both eyes can see the majority of the picture (environment, background, etc), only one eye, generally the weak one, can see some key game features like a moving ball, stars, rings or arrows.
Vergence– Both programs have the ability to shift one or both screens left, right, up, down or at an angle for cyclotorsion, esotropia or exotropia. This helps with fusion.
Contrast, Brightness and Blur- Both programs also include the ability adjust the contrast, brightness and blur of each eye. This can help especially with amblyopia and suppression.
Jump/Smooth Duction- Instead of having a steady prism, the game can switch from base in to base out either smoothly or it can jump. This exercises the brain’s vergence skills, kind of like weight lifting for the eyes. NOTE: This feature is available on each of the Optics Trainer activities, but is only on 3 for Vivid Vision.
Vivid Vision has most of the features that Optics Trainer has, plus a few extras. With pretty much every game, there are several additional game-specific features that can be changed. Things like target size, arm length, and ball speed can all be adjusted to make it easier or harder, helping to pin point what works for individual patients. These features have made a HUGE difference for me.
Optics Trainer has the jump/smooth duction feature available for each game and it is a really great setting that can turn any normal game into an eye workout!
For their home virtual reality program, Vivid Vision has 9 games/activities plus 4 tests and Optics Trainer has 6 games and no tests.
I want to mention that 2 of the Optics Trainer games have to do with contrast and I haven’t used them at all and my Optometrist hasn’t recommended them for me, so they really have 8 games, but only 6 that I use.
In my mind, the games fall into 3 categories. Of course there is overlap and someone else might group them very differently, but this is how I see it:
- Vergence Activities– for these, there are 2-8 identical objects, depending on the game, and you must click the closest one. There are small variations, but the huge focus is on improving fusion and vergence skills. These games are really important for teaching the brain stereopsis and have definitely been extremely beneficial. This category also includes normal games that can switch between base in and base out.
- Anti-Suppression and Depth Perception Activities- These are games that play to the abilities of VR. You have to properly judge depth and reach the correct distance to interact correctly with the environment. Fly an airplane through a ring, slice fruit, play ping pong, break ice, pick the fruit, etc all while part of the game can only be seen by one eye so it is working SO many different areas of vision. These ones are amazing for building hand/eye/brain coordination and helping equalize the vision in both eyes.
- Other- These games are just normal games that can be used with fancy VT settings. They can help with memory and tracking, which are important visual skills, but they aren’t my focus in VR.
Each game could arguably be put into each category depending on the settings used, but I’m going for the general idea here. Both programs have some of each type of game, but a larger focus on certain ones, here is the breakdown:
- 5 Activities that focus on Vergence: Bubbles, Step Vergence, Bullseye, Jump Duction, and Barnyard Bounce (adjust from BI to BO while bouncing up islands).
- 4 Unique games that focus on anti- suppression and depth perception: Pepper Picker, Breaker (ping pongish), Ring Runner (spaceship through rings), Hoopie (catch ball).
- 1 Activity with a focus on Vergence: Tappy Birds. All games can add on jump/smooth duction as an additional setting.
- 3 games for anti- suppression and depth perception: Precision Pop (pop balloons), Fruit Samurai (slice fruit with sword), Ice Breaker (use ax to break ice).
- 2 Other games; Brain Bounce (tracking and memory), Grid shooter (memory).
Both programs have games that I love and games that I view as fillers. If I had to pick the 6 games that offer me the best therapy and growth, they would be, in order:
- Pepper Picker (Vivid Vision)
- Tappy Birds (Optics Trainer)
- Jump Duction (Vivid Vision)
- Breaker (Vivid Vision)
- Bubbles (Vivid Vision)
- Precision Pop (Optics Trainer)
While Optics Trainer has some great games, Tappy Birds is an extremely close second favorite, it just isn’t as well rounded as Vivid Vision.
With strabismus, tons of work on fusion and vergence is needed and it is nice to be able to do it with the variety of games that Vivid Vision has. Each one is a little different and helps in a different way.
I feel like Vivid Vision has more intense, therapeutic options with its games. Optics Trainer has great qualities, don’t get me wrong, but it just isn’t at the same level as Vivid Vision.
Both programs are designed to be done under the supervision of an Optometrist that practices vision therapy. Every office runs things differently so I can’t really give exact information on price, but I’ll share my experience.
Vivid Vision is generally included with the overall cost of vision therapy and lumped into the grand total at most clinics. Most patients might not even see an additional cost.
Other clinics offer it as an add-on or offer it remotely. My Optometrist didn’t offer it at first so I looked into using Vivid Vision remotely and was quoted at around $700 for 3 months. That price covered the subscription price and the cost of evaluations and the time for the Optometrist to adjust settings and track my progress. This seemed pretty average compared to other clinics I have gotten quotes from.
The amount that clinicians choose to charge for overseeing the program varies so you have to just call the clinic you are looking into and get a quote. I imagine that if you can do it through your own clinic it will be much much less expensive.
Optics Trainer is a little different, the patient can try the program at home in its basic version with no setting adjustments for a free trial. If they want to include all the settings that allow the optometrist to tailor the program to their needs, the patient pays a $50 a month fee straight to Optics Trainer. If you mention my name, Melissa, you can get 5% off.
In general you get what you pay for. Optics Trainer is less expensive, but you don’t get quite as many games or setting as you would if you paid the extra for Vivid Vision. It’s just like everything else in life, weigh out the costs and benefits for you and your situation.
Successes I Experienced with Vivid Vision and Optics Trainer
It is hard to say if one program produced results better than the other. I used Optics Trainer during the first half of my vision therapy, before surgery. I used Vivid Vision after Surgery during the second half of my vision therapy.
During my year using Optics Trainer in combination with weekly in-office vision therapy and other home activities:
- I went from not being able to do any jump duction or vergence activities on VTS4 (another program) to being able to score in normal ranges for both base in and base out.
- I experienced stereopsis for the first time in real life. It happened more frequently as time moved on.
- I learned to control both eyes and could make my eyes straight.
After Surgery, many of my skills disappeared. I lost all of my stereopsis abilities in real life and on VTS4 I went back to not being able to see depth. So frustrating!
I decided to try Vivid Vision after surgery because I had heard that it was intensive and really effective. I have only been doing it for 3 months and have already experienced the following:
- Regained stereopsis in real life (not all the time, but I’m getting there)
- Saw the fly’s wings floating on the ophthalmologist’s stereogram for the first time ever in my life!
- Regained the BI and BO vergence on VTS4 and surpassed my pre-surgery levels.
I felt like the progress went much more quickly with Vivid Vision, but was that because my brain just had to relearn the skill or was it because Vivid Vision is better and I was spending more time with virtual reality? I think that it was a combination.
I love vision therapy, especially virtual reality vision therapy. If I could have my own way, I would take all of the games from Vivid Vision and Optics Trainer and combine them into one glorious program.
I would keep the more diverse settings and games of Vivid Vision and add on the game menu option and games from Optics Trainer.
But since that isn’t an option, my plan is to stick with Vivid Vision for another three months of intense therapy to really train my brain to use both eyes consistently.
After I am at a more stable point, visually, I will probably switch to Optics Trainer to help maintain progress at a more manageable price.
Talk to your Optometrist and let them help you decided which option will be best for you and get excited to 10X your vision therapy results. Virtual Reality is the best!
To learn more about Vivid Vision and where it is available, go to their website. They have a page where you can discover any providers near you and they have a super helpful website!
To learn more about Optics Trainer and how to sign up, head over to their website. They have a great breakdown of the different versions of Optics Trainer and how to find a provider.