New research shows effectiveness of online therapy tool for vision loss

Published: Friday 28 November 2014

One in five stroke survivors are left with partial or total loss of vision to one side following a stroke. The condition is called hemianopia, and can severely affect a stroke survivor's quality of life.

Artist's-impression of hemianopia

On 28 November 2014, Dr Alex Leff published a research paper in the Journal, Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. It provides new evidence for the effectiveness of an online therapy tool called Eye-Search to help with hemianopia.

Eye-Search has been used by stroke survivors with hemianopia to help search their visual field more effectively, to find what they're looking for more easily. 

The new research shows that eleven days of practice with Eye-Search can significantly improve user's speed for finding items in a visual search test of everyday items.

Visual search test of everyday items

The research also suggests that this benefit isn't restricted to the test, but translates to real-world situations in the stroke survivor's daily life, such as shopping or bumping into people or things both at home and in the street.

It's thought that Eye-Search works by re-training a user's eye movements to make them more efficient.

Whilst not part of this research, Eye-Search can also be used by stroke survivors with spatial neglect of one side of their vision, in other words they are unable to pay attention to it.

The Stroke Association funded Dr Leff to set up Eye-Search and also Read-Right, another web-based therapy tool shown to help stroke survivors with reading problems caused by hemianopia. The two therapy tools were the first web-based rehabilitation techniques to be introduced in the UK, and are freely available for anyone to use.

To find out whether Eye-Search or Read-Right could help you, visit help with daily living

Dr Alex Leff is a researcher at University College London and an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.

Find out more about his wider work.

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