Eye Training Improves Vision Loss in Glaucoma
18 April 2014 | Eyecare Partners
A study in Germany has found that regular 'eye training' can lead to improvements in reducing areas of vision loss that occur in glaucoma. Damage to the visual fields in glaucoma were previously thought to be permanent, but recent work by scientist suggest that daily eye workouts may be able to reverse some of the changes.
Researchers from the Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg used computer software to train the eyes of patients with glaucoma who had damage to their visual field.
The vision restoration training software required patients to detect spots which flashed onto the screen. The flashes were designed to stimulate visual centres in the brain responsible for peripheral vision damaged by the disease.
The 30 patients in the study were randomly allocated to one of two groups, either using the training software or placebo software. The participants then trained twice a day for 30 minutes, six days a week.
After three months the researchers noted improvements in detection for participants who used the vision restoration software, with four patients showing a moderate improvement and six showing a large improvement. By comparison, the placebo group remained unchanged.
The researcher revealed evidence that visual field loss is in part reversible. The basis of the improvement is thought to be down to neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to adapt and rewire itself.
This research opens up the possibility of developing new rehabilitation treatment options in glaucoma.
A full paper on the scientific study is published in the current issue of JAMA Ophthalmology.