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New therapy helps combat stroke blindness

Press Association logoPress Association 28/09/2016

A new treatment is helping people with stroke-induced blindness greatly improve their vision.

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

In such brain injuries, partial blindness in the visual field - the area in which objects can be seen in peripheral vision when the eyes are focused 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 computer-based treatment designed to improve speed and effectiveness of eye movements to help compensate for the vision loss that gets results in weeks.

Professor Arash Sahraie, head of the School of Psychology at the University of Aberdeen who led the study, said such "sight deficit" could be debilitating.

"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."

The treatment was accessible and could help patients achieve major improvements in their vision within "about two to three weeks". It could be tailored 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.

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