Despite the fact that almost one-third of patients suffer from visual deficits following brain damage; neuro-visual rehabilitation to compensate for visual field deficits is relatively neglected in the clinical setting. This is in contrast to physio and speech therapies, which are the bread and butter of rehabilitative programs. Likewise, programs that address coping with dementia usually concentrate on language, memory and cognitive skills, but often fail to address the deficits experienced by the subset of patients suffering from progressive cortico-visual dysfunction. Herein, we will review the different approaches to neuro-visual rehabilitation, mainly concentrating on restorative and compensatory treatments. While the first claims to restore vision in the blind visual field, the latter attempts to improve the use of the remaining intact field. These approaches differ in their premise regarding the ability of the adult human brain to adapt following damage, reflecting different attitudes toward the presumed treatment target organ. While restorative therapies claim to reactivate inactive neurons within or around the damaged cortices, compensatory approaches aim to improve voluntary eye movements to compensate the visual loss. We will also briefly discuss the use of optical devices for bypassing the visual deficit as well as the use of the blind-sight phenomena to convert non-conscious visual abilities in the blind visual field into awareness. The various therapeutic approaches will be discussed in the context of patients suffering from hemianopsia and in patients suffering from posterior cortical atrophy. We will argue that of all, the compensatory strategies have shown the most promising results.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Levin N. has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant agreement No 641805.
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
- Compensatory therapy
- Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA)
- Restorative therapy
- Substitutional prisms