Computer treatment helps stroke-induced blindness


A new treatment is helping people with stroke-induced blindness achieve major improvements in their vision.

Loss of sight due to brain injury, usually from stroke, affects around a third of stroke survivors

In these types of brain injury, partial blindness in the visual field - the area in which objects can be seen in peripheral vision when the eyes are focussed on a central point - occurs due to a disruption in the connections between the eyes and the visual processing areas of the brain.

Now researchers have developed a new computer-based treatment designed to improve speed and effectiveness of eye movements to help compensate for this vision loss, which gets results in a matter of weeks.

Professor Arash Sahraie, head of the School of Psychology at the University of Aberdeen who led the study, said: "This type of sight deficit can be massively debilitating for those affected by it.

"Patients report a loss of confidence in their own ability to navigate the environment that can then manifest itself in the form of withdrawal from daily life.

"This is why it's important to develop techniques to help patients to improve as much as they can and this compensatory technique is yet another step forward in providing help and therapy for these patients.

"We have developed the research into an accessible treatment that can help patients achieve major improvements in their vision within about two to three weeks. The therapy is adaptive and can tailor the treatment programme according to the needs of the individual.

"Our study found that this treatment can improve what remains of the partially sighted patients' vision by training them to better detect objects in their visual field."

Research on the new NeuroEyeCoach treatment was published in the academic journal Biomed Research International.