Rehabilitation of damage to the visual brain
Ajina S., Kennard C.
Homonymous visual field loss is a common consequence of stroke and traumatic brain injury. It is associated with an adverse functional prognosis and has implications on day-to-day activities such as driving, reading, and safe navigation. Early recovery is expected in around half of cases, and may be associated with a return in V1 activity. In stable disease, recovery is unlikely beyond 3 and certainly 6 months. Rehabilitative approaches generally target three main areas, encompassing a range of techniques with variable success: visual aids aim to expand or relocate the affected visual field; eye movement training builds upon compensatory strategies to improve explorative saccades; visual field restitution aims to improve visual processing within the damaged field itself. All these approaches seem to offer modest improvements with repeated practice, with none clearly superior to the rest. However, a number of areas are demonstrating particular promise currently, including simple web-based training initiatives, and work on neuroimaging and learning. The research interest in this area is encouraging, and it is to be hoped that future trials can better untangle and control for the number of complicated confounds, so that we will be in a much better position to evaluate and select the most appropriate therapy for patients. © 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS.