Vision therapy the ‘unmet need’ for stroke and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation

The statistics are staggering. Millions of people worldwide suffer without hope from vision loss due to neurological injuries like stroke, tumours, or trauma - often needlessly.  In the US alone, 20-30 per cent of TBI and stroke survivors may suffer visual field deficits - most erroneously having been told their only option is learning to compensate for their condition. Enter ‘Vision Restoration Therapy’ (VRT) – a game-changing med-tech innovation enhancing lives while revolutionizing the rehabilitation paradigm at large.

The emphasis in the past for vision therapy was simply to help the patient compensate for, or adjust to, their vision loss.  Options have not been readily available to help repair lost eyesight - until now.  Individuals living with neurological vision loss cite difficulty with mobility and the performance of every day tasks like driving, reading and writing.  These issues can dramatically undermine their overall quality of life or safety while also often requiring the reliance on caregivers for daily support.

NovaVision’s VRT is an FDA-cleared, patented, non-invasive medical therapy which has been proven through numerous studies to provide significant functional improvement to patients suffering from visual impairment resulting from such injuries.

In particular, the company’s focus has been on Stroke and TBI patients. What the various clinical studies have demonstrated is that in approximately 88 per cent of the patients there has been a demonstrable improvement in at least one of their daily functional activities with 75 per cent of patients experiencing an improvement in their mobility, which is considered the most significant functional impairment resulting from vision loss. Furthermore 75 per cent of patients experienced a substantial visual field improvement. Patients suffering with hemianopia, scotoma, quadrantonopia and other acquired visual deficits were included. Other study results, derived from fMRI (functional MRI) imaging, show increased activity in the visual cortex after receiving the therapy.
Offering more good news, the time lapse between a patient’s injury or the patient’s age and the initiation of VRT treatment is not relevant. The therapy has delivered many successful outcomes for patients who suffered vision loss years before receiving VRT. In fact, in one such case, a veteran who acquired brain damage during World War II benefited from VRT, giving hope to throngs of survivors unduly suffering from neurological vision loss due to stroke, tumours, or trauma.
Scientists and physicians have long believed that once a person experiences a brain injury, the resulting vision deficit effects are irreversible. Research over the last 15-20 years has actually demonstrated that the cortex doesn’t have a fixed functional architecture. The brain’s ability to modify its structural and functional organization to compensate and overcome injuries is called neuroplasticity.
NovaVision’s management believes that the non-invasive computer based neuro stimulation leads to visual improvement through neuroplasticity. While this hasn’t been categorically proven to be the driver behind the unequivocal functional improvements, continued studies such as the fMRI and other ongoing studies should substantiate the company’s beliefs. 

Regardless, the functional results for the patients are real and can be demonstrated through a combination of both objective and subjective results.

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