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Sci Tech    H4'ed 8/14/11

Breakthrough treatment for Hemianopia

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Since visual abilities are involved in many of physical and cognitive abilities of the individual, this interruption of vision could potentially affect additional abilities, creating a unique syndrome for each person. This syndrome could potentially include additional difficulties with visual memory, visual reasoning, hand-eye coordination, ambulation, visual organization, and object naming. In many cases the patient suffers from significant disabilities, permanently interfering with life. A simple example could be the person's inability to see from the left visual field. This is commonly known as left-sided neglect and it can easily prevent the person from driving, as he or she does not see incoming objects on the road. Not being able to drive would deprive the individual from many forms of employment and in the case of someone who is operating heavy machinery, he would not be able to perform his job because of the potential danger to self and others.

Current Treatment methods:

(1) Surgery: The utilization of surgery in treatment of heminapsia is quite limited and is only used in rare cases.

(2) Behavioral approach: Most of the attempts at patient rehabilitation are focused on behavioral methods that teach the patient to pay extra attention to the area that they do not see naturally. Although these behavioral methods do have some value they do not remedy the problem. They mostly involve adjusting to the disability.

There has been also a significant attempt at utilizing what is known as visual constraint therapy. In this method of treatment, parts, or the entire healthy portion, of the visual field is completely or partially blocked by using different methods of obstructing the visual field. This can be done with glasses, lenses or other devices. Although there have been many claims of success utilizing this technique, visual constraint therapy has not been successful enough to be accepted as an effective treatment for heminapsia. Also, in practical terms, the obstruction of a portion of the patient's glasses or lenses could be risky, as the patient is deprived of most of their vision until they adapt to the device. This hindrance makes visual constraint therapy an undesirable treatment for patients, and even those patients who enter into treatment have a high dropout ratio. Even in the cases of those patients who remain in treatment and who are willing to use the device, most frequently the blockage of the visual field is cosmetically undesirable as well, causing the patient to stand out in public. This leads to patient embarrassment and to using the device only when not in the public, resulting in minimal gain and eventual discontinuation of treatment, before significant gains have been made. Confronting the above facts, there is a need for a non-invasive method of treatment, which would not have the above limitations. The current invention is the product of several years of utilizing and modifying different devices to ameliorate achieve the afore-mentioned problems.

VISUAL CHROMATIC COVER THERAPY (VCCT)


Utilization of VCCT places a heavy emphasis on accurate diagnosis of the areas of the deficits and on monitoring the patient's improvement continuously, and then modifying the patient's glasses based on information obtained through visual field exams. There is also a particular emphasis on not using any constraint, in order to avoid the obstacles mentioned before.

During the initial examination, the patient's visual field is assessed utilizing standard visual field examinations using accurate matrices. The patient is also advised to see his Opthamologist to rule out existence of other conditions and prevent unintended consequences.

Once the areas of damage are established, the patient's own prescription glasses - or simple non-prescription glasses of the patient's choosing - are coated with a specific translucent paint by highly sensitive machines, spraying specific amounts of paint on specific areas of the lens.

In this type of therapy, the results of the visual field examination dictate the precise application of lens coloring. The patient is instructed to wear the glasses at all times except during sleep and showering, if practical. It is emphasized that even small interruptions will significantly delay the improvement of the condition.

The patient is examined again in two weeks and a new visual field examination is conducted. If treatment is successful, the patient's new visual field examination usually manifests a significant improvement - above 50%. This significant improvement in such a short time is one of the areas of superiority of the Visual Chromatic Cover Therapy over other treatment modalities.

However the main advantage of Visual Chromatic Cover Therapy is that it actually works. There is no treatment I know of which can document anything more than random chance improvement a year after a stroke. We have not had even one case of failure since we replaced visual constraint therapy with Visual Chromatic Cover Therapy.

Since the brain is not forced to make new synapses or cure the areas that have been damaged, and is only forced to use a different pathway to get the information to visual centers of the brain (occipital lobe), the process is quite faster. It is a simple rerouting of the information from the eye to the visual centers of the brain.

If there is no improvement, there is a high likelihood that the patient is not a good candidate for this treatment, and perseveration will not make much difference. The unsuccessful cases are usually those where the entire half of both eyes is totally blind. The causes are specific to the patient and could have a variety of origins. The most common cause is when the damages are caused by underlying medical problems, such as Glaucoma.

In most cases, there is a distinct improvement.

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I was born and raised in Tehran Iran .I came to the U.S in 1976 to study psychology. With time decided to hang my hat here and became a U.S. citizen. My areas of interest in psychology are varied. However I mostly work with stroke patients. I (more...)
 

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