Psychologists at Saarland University have developed a new therapy to help people who are experiencing impaired spatial vision, which may possibly be a result of stroke. The research team developed a therapeutic approach that aimed to train binocular fusion and improve three-dimensional vision. Participants in the study were presented with two images with a slight lateral offset between them, and by using convergent eye movements, patients try to fuse the two images to a single image. This involves directing the eyes inward towards the nose while always keeping the images in the field o view.

Anna Katharina Schaadt, PhD, explains, “Test subjects underwent a six week training program in which both eyes were exercised equally.” The team of clinical neuropsychologists has utilized this training program on 11 stroke patients, nine patients with brain trauma injury, and four hypoxia patients. The Saarland University news release notes that after completing the training program, a significant improvement in binocular fusion and stereoscopic vision was observed in all participants. In a number of cases, a normal level of stereovision was observed in all participants.

Schaadt states, “The results remained stable in the two post-study examinations that we performed after three and six months respectively. Visual endurance also improved significantly.” Patients who were able to work at a computer for only 15 to 20 minutes before they began treatment found that they could work at a computer screen for up to 3 hours after completing the therapeutic training.

The Saarland University news release also notes that the results are also of value to the Saarbrücken scientists as they provide insight into brain function and indicate that certain regions of the brain that have become damaged can be reactivated if the proper therapy is used.

Photo Appears Courtesy of Oliver Dietze

Source: University of Saarland