the UK alone some 120,000 people a year will suffer from a stroke,
where it is the third most common cause of death and the single
most common cause of severe disability. A similar pattern exists
throughout the world
Typically we associate strokes with limb paralysis and impaired
speech, but some 20% of people who suffer from a stroke will end up
with a visual deficit such as Hemianopia, a partial blindness
caused by damage to the primary visual cortex.
This very disabling condition renders patients unable to see
anything in almost half their field of vision, causing difficulty
in locating things, problems with reading and general
While great advances have been made in physical therapies for
stroke patients, attempts made to develop training methods to
address sight impairment haven’t always lived up to their
potential - not everyone responds well to them.
Now researchers at the new Wolfson Research Institute in
Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Durham are studying
existing therapies and looking to provide a faster and more
consistently effective treatment for the condition.
The basis of their approach is that rather than trying to
re-train people to see as you would with a limb paralysis, which
takes thousands of hours, and doesn’t work at all for some
people, you teach people to move their eyes and heads to scan the
areas of their blindness, so they quickly develop a way of
compensating for the area of darkness, rapidly improving their
quality of life.
- Wolfson Research Institute
- Researchers demonstrate different tests and training therapies
for stroke patients suffering from visual impairment
- Dr Thomas Schenk, Principal Investigator
- Daniel Smith, Researcher
- Allison Lane, Researcher