Computer-based therapy gives dramatic improvement to stroke-based
7 Feb 2011
NovaVision, developer of non-invasive vision restoration
therapy (VRT), has found that nearly 90% of VRT patients surveyed cited
at least one significant improvement in their functionality as a result
of its therapy and 88% of patients noted a considerable improvement in
overall quality of life.
VRT clinical studies have further shown measurable vision gain in
more than two thirds of cases.
Millions of people worldwide suffer from neurological
vision loss due to brain or optic nerve injuries from stroke,
tumours, or trauma — often needlessly. For many, such partial
blindness can be reversed and a measure of sight permanently
restored with NovaVision’s non-invasive visual stimulation-based
Vision Restoration Therapy (VRT) technology.
The science behind VRT has been validated
by 15 years of academic research, with clinical studies published
worldwide in more than 30 leading journals. All support the efficacy
of NovaVision’s neurostimulation therapy approach which can be
prescribed by any eye doctor, neurologist or physiatrist in the US.
“On average patients can permanently recover around 5°
of central vision and, in some cases, dramatically more, which is a
critical gain for conducting many daily activities,” notes Tom
Bridges, NovaVision vice president of sales and marketing.
"While 5° may sound like a small
difference", he continued, "clinical data shows it can have an
exceptional impact on patient’s lives. This can be through decreased
risk of collisions or falls — a well documented problem in those
with vision loss — to reading, watching TV, grooming, hobbies and
sports, and, in those cases with greater visual recovery, the
ability to drive again. Perhaps most important is the fact that so
many of our patients report they gained their self esteem and
independence back to a much higher degree.
“Unlike other therapies that help patients simply compensate for,
or adjust to, their vision loss, VRT can actually permanently
restore visual function and, thus, has a more significant impact on
a patient’s emotional and physical well-being. While other
rehabilitation modalities such as speech, physical and occupational
therapy have been established as a standard of care for stroke and
traumatic brain injury victims, our innovative Vision Restoration
Therapy addresses a previously unmet need for vision recovery.”
How VRT works
FDA-cleared in 2003, VRT has been proven to improve the vision
and quality of life for stroke and brain injury survivors through
daily non-invasive computer-based therapy sessions.
The company attributes the improvement to neuroplasticity, which
is the ability of the nervous system to modify its structural and
functional organization and reorganize in order to compensate for
injury, as was initially identified by Gilbert and Weisel in 1990.
NovaVision’s VRT device uses the eyes as conduit to deliver
light-based stimuli to the brain to trigger and accelerate
neuroplasticity. The VRT diagnostic program maps areas where vision
may be improved, while proprietary algorithms generate a customized
neurostimulation strategy specific to each patient that activates
the appropriate region within the brain's vision-processing areas.
VRT “rewires” the brain’s visual system and expands the visual
field of the patient to a more normal level, permanently restoring a
measure of lost vision.
Vision before VRT (left), and an 8.5 improvement after VRT (right)
Vision Restoration Therapy is performed at home on a leased,
computerized device twice daily for six months. During each session,
patients focus on a central point displayed on the device's screen
and respond every time they see light stimuli appear.
The light stimuli are presented primarily in the areas at the
border of the patient’s specific vision loss, and become detected
more easily and deeper into the area of loss as therapy progresses
and the visual field is expanded. Therapy is regularly updated and
monitored with input from the patient’s prescribing physician.
Patients are advised to take breaks during therapy and to take one
day off from the therapy per week.