Research to restore sight loss from stroke

Dr Webb, University of Nottingham:

“Every year around 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. Of these, roughly 30% experience some kind of vision loss as a result. Some people may lose half of their visual field, some a quarter. It varies from person to person, and it all depends on exactly.  This work could help a lot of people."

Dr Webb is researching the impact of stroke on sight
Dr Webb is researching the impact of stroke on sight
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What is the aim of this project?

Sight loss is not just caused by eye conditions. From diabetes to stroke and brain injury, some of the most common causes of vision impairment don’t start in the eye.

One of the studies we are currently funding is being carried out at the University of Nottingham, by a team led by Dr Ben Webb and Dr Denis Schluppeck. They are investigating a pioneering way to help people see after their vision is damaged by a stroke. They will then be investigating ways to train the eye and the brain to process visual information after stroke.

Why is this research needed?

“Every year around 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke,” says Dr Webb. “Of these, roughly 30% experience some kind of vision loss as a result. Some people may lose half of their visual field, some a quarter. It varies from person to person."

What method will researchers use?
Dr Webb and Dr Schluppeck are exploring ways to identify which areas of a stroke survivor’s visual field might still have functional vision. These are places where the eyes can still see, even if the brain cannot receive or process the images. “By examining brain scans we can actually see these areas of ‘unconscious vision’,” says  Dr Webb.  “That allows us to work with the stroke survivor and train them to see in that particular spot.


How will this research impact patients?
Early test results show the method has real potential to have a positive impact on the lives of stroke survivors.

“The funding from Fight for Sight was crucial to getting this study underway,” says Dr Webb. “We’re taking a completely novel, targeted approach, and this work could help a lot of people.”

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