Award Type: Senior Clinical Lecturer Award (UK-wide)
Senior Clinical Lectureships are for candidates who are still spending up to 50% of their time in clinical practice.
Stroke Association Thompson Family Senior Clinical Lectureship Award
Vision loss on one side after stroke (hemianopia) is a major cause of disability, affecting tens of thousands of people each year in the UK alone. Computer-based vision rehabilitation has appeared in recent years, aimed towards improving how well people see and how easily they search the world with their eyes. This has produced improvements in specific visual tasks, such as finding a number on a screen, but have disappointed in their ability to benefit patients and have not been subject to rigorous clinical trials.
Learning processes for improving vision loss and training eye movements are highly specific to the task trained; therefore training needs to involve activities more like those performed in real life. Also, looking around a computer screen is very different from moving your head and eyes around in real life.
A critical issue is that most of the time when you change where you are looking you move your head, but computerised tasks often don’t involve head movements at all. Some researchers claim that effective adaptation to vision loss involves reducing or eliminating head movements; conversely, in the UK at least, occupational therapists generally encourage stroke survivors with vision loss to make large head movements towards their blind side.
This Lectureship will lay the foundations for a programme of research which will lead to a rigorously neuroscience-based rehabilitation method to improve the lives of stroke survivors, which can be tested for rolling out across the NHS. Difficult issues will be tackled head-on, including:
- The importance of head movements in visual rehabilitation.
- The relationship between computerised tasks and real-life activities.
- Differences between people in their responses to vision training.
We will also produce more meaningful ways of measuring well-being and everyday visual function in stroke survivors, to improve the design of future clinical trials.