The New York Times has a story about an innovative new therapy that improves visual field deficits in patients who are status post stroke:
A new rehabilitation technique has helped patients whose vision was damaged by stroke to recapture parts of their fields of vision, according to a study presented last week at the American Stroke Association’s international conference in New Orleans.
In recent years, researchers have made slow but steady progress in helping stroke victims regain the use of paralyzed limbs by retraining nerves in undamaged parts of the brain. The new technique, called vision restoration therapy, does something similar for patients who are left with blank spots in front of their eyes.
Dr. Bernhard Sabel of Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany, who developed the technique, said it involved twice-a-day sessions of 30 minutes each at a computer terminal. Patients are asked to fix their gaze on a spot in the screen’s center, and then click to signal when they become aware of a dot on the periphery, a process that stimulates nerves near the edge of the affected area.
Dr. Sabel said that after six months, the 24 patients in the study were able to detect 63 percent of the peripheral signals, compared with 54 percent when they began. An extra six months appeared to show a further improvement, he said, although the difference did not reach statistical significance.
Dr. Sabel said that in follow-up studies, 70 percent of patients maintained their improvement, while 10 percent gained more vision back and 20 percent lost a small amount.
The therapy uses neuroplasticity, the self-repair capability of the brain, to improve visual field deficits. Medical professionals, interested in learning more about NovaVision VRT, should check out this webpage (don’t forget to check out the educational case studies!).
Further details at NovaVision…