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Clinical treatment options for patients with homonymous visual field defects

Authors Alison R Lane, Daniel T Smith, Thomas Schenk

Published 7 March 2008 Volume 2008:2(1) Pages 93—102


Alison R Lane, Daniel T Smith, Thomas Schenk

Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit, Durham University, Durham, UK

Abstract: The objective of this review is to evaluate treatments for homonymous visual field defects (HVFDs). We distinguish between three treatments: visual restoration training (VRT), optical aids, and compensatory training. VRT is both the most ambitious and controversial approach, aiming to restore portions of the lost visual field. While early studies suggested that VRT can reduce the visual field defect, recent studies using more reliable means of monitoring the patients’ fixation could not confirm this effect. Studies utilizing modern optical aids have reported some promising results, but the extent to which these aids can reliably reduce the patients’ visual disability has yet to be confirmed. Compensatory approaches, which teach patients more effective ways of using their eyes, are currently the only form of treatment for which behavioral improvements have been demonstrated. However, with the exception of one study using a reading training, placebo-controlled clinical evaluation studies are lacking. It is also not yet clear whether the training benefits found in laboratory tasks lead to reliable improvements in activities of daily living and which of the various forms of compensatory training is the most promising. It is therefore too early to recommend any of the currently available treatment approaches.

Keywords: homonymous hemianopia, rehabilitation, treatment outcome

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