A new study shows how visual training designed by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) Flaum Eye Institute provides the first evidence that rigorous visual training recovers basic vision in cortically blind patients with long-standing stroke damage in the primary visual cortex.
Researchers at URMC reportedly developed a type of physical therapy for the visual system, providing a way of rerouting visual information about the dead areas of the primary visual cortex. The system includes the use of personalized software programs that flash small circles of striped patterns or moving dots in the patient's blind field.
Patients were asked to report the orientation of stripes or direction in which the dots were moving. Although at first patients reportedly only guess correctly half of the time, over time they began to sense and then actually see enough of the patterns and dots to answer correctly 80 percent of the time.
Researchers reportedly believe their study challenge the idea that cortically blind patients’ visual deficits stabilize six months after stroke, and results could provide greater justification for prescribing visual training to all patients who are capable as early as possible.
The study was recently published in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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Source: University of Rochester Medical Center