Vision therapy helps brain injury patients

August 20, 2007

Stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors, who have undergone vision restoration therapy (VRT), demonstrate increased brain activity, according to researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, USA.

Stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors, who have undergone vision restoration therapy (VRT), demonstrate increased brain activity, according to researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, USA.

Randolph Marshall and colleagues examined the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRIs) of six patients aged between 35 and 77 with homonymous hemianopia vision loss caused by stroke or traumatic brain injury. Each patient underwent VRT therapy to help rehabilitate their vision.

The fMRI data showed that there was an increased activity in the visual processing areas of the brain as patients learned to detect stimuli in the border zone between the seeing and non-seeing fields. This enhanced activity was identified one month after the start of treatment, suggesting that the brain responds accordingly.

The treatment involves patients performing daily therapy at home for between six and seven months, gradually improving their vision through repeated detection of light stimuli directed at the border between the seeing and blind areas of the visual field.