Helping stroke survivors 'retrain' the eyes

15 September 21

written by:

Anna Riley

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By funding researchers at the University of Liverpool, you’re helping to test a new approach to ‘retrain’ the eyes after stroke.

Hemianopia – the loss of vision or blindness in half the visual field on the right or left side – occurs suddenly in 30% of stroke survivors.

Current treatment to help those with hemianopia compensate for their sight loss is variable and not standardised in the NHS. This is due to uncertainty about what works best and when is the right time to offer treatment. Visual scanning training could improve the patient experience, encouraging stroke survivors to scan the ‘blind’ side of
their visual field to improve their adaptation to loss of vision.

Following a successful pilot, Professor Fiona Rowe and her team, jointly funded by Fight for Sight and the Stroke Association, will run a large-scale study, which has been designed with the help of patients.

Professor Fiona Rowe is leading a study into hemianopia at the University of Liverpool

A low-tech, paper-based method of visual scanning training will be used, as it is cost-effective, available to all, and allows training to be practised at home.

Crucially, successful adaptation will help lessen the impact on daily-life activities for those who have been affected by stroke.

“I’m delighted we’re funding this important research and that patient involvement is helping to shape it. The lack of consistency in treatment for people who experience sight loss due to hemianopia is limiting people’s recovery and having a devastating impact on their quality of life. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the test, which could really be transformative.”

-Ikram Dahman, Chief Executive (Interim) Fight for Sight

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