survivors with Hemianopsia benefit from the usage of mirrors, prisms or field
expanded lens. Another common treatment, known as eye movement therapy,
involves training the eyes to search for visual information throughout the
visual field. In Dan’s case, that would entail his visual system to scan more
effectively on the left side of his visual field.
Six months after his stroke, Dan consulted with a
neuro-ophthalmologist, who told him that the Hemianopsia and severely
blurred vision would remain for the rest of his life. Using prisms was
not an option because the non-blind half of his visual field was extremely blurry.
Frustrated by this diagnosis, he did an Internet search on vision
loss after stroke, which led him to discover information on vision restoration therapy, or VRT.
VRT is offered exclusively through a company called NovaVision, and for
Dan, it was his last hope at improving his post-stroke vision.
VRT works by using flashing lights on a
computer screen that stimulate partially functioning neural cells at the
edge of the blinded area within the visual field. The therapy can be
done at home and entails two 30-minute sessions per day for six months.
Reports of a 65 to 70 percent success rate of vision improvement
following a stroke are
what convinced Dan to undertake the VRT therapy. After completing a 6-month treatment plan, Dan's left-eye vision improved enough
that he can read the 20/20 line at the eye doctor
Dan continues to do 6-month treatments, which helped him slightly expand his
visual field about three degrees onto the mostly blinded left side.
For Dan, VRT significantly improved both his
vision and post-stroke quality of life. He is now back to working full-time as a car salesman, can ride a bike and participates in a bowling
And, most importantly, “I’m driving, dude,” Dan says with the giddiness of a 16-year old getting behind the wheel for the first time. “I have independence now. I don’t have to rely on help from everybody on everything. I don’t need it.”