Vision Restoration Therapy Gives New Hope to Stroke and Brain Injury Patients.
October 03, 2005.
First in Asia, Vision Restoration Therapy Gives New Hope to Stroke and Brain Injury Patients at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Therapy Aims to 'Activate' Neurons in the Brain to Increase the Visual Field.
NovaVision, Inc. today announced Singapore's Tan Tok Seng Hospital (TTSH) is the first medical institution to offer NovaVision VRT(TM) Vision Restoration Therapy(TM) (VRT), a promising therapy offering hope to patients left partially blind by a stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI). VRT is a non-invasive medical device that is now available at TTSH to treat patients with visual field defects from postchiasmal brain disorders such as strokes, brain tumors and post surgery neurosurgical patients.
VRT is based on the principle of neuroplasticity--the ability of partially damaged neurons in the brain to compensate for injury and adjust their activity in response to stimulation from the environment. After stroke or TBI, a zone of residual vision exists between regions within the brain's vision-processing areas. Within this zone, there are areas that can be improved using precise patterns of stimulation.
Researchers have discovered that 65% of patients who completed VRT found it beneficial when their visual fields expanded sufficiently to improve their quality of life.
Dr. Goh Kong Yong, Senior Consultant Neuro-opthalmologist, Department of Ophthalmology, TTSH said, "The generally accepted notion that nothing can be done leaves little hope for such patients. Visual restoration was once considered impossible. Such patients commonly experience many limitations in their daily activities as well as in their journey to rehabilitation. VRT represents a significant paradigm shift and new hope for stroke patients."
"Neither the age of the patient nor the time of occurrence of the stroke is a factor. Whether the stroke occurred a month ago or a few years ago, the patient may still benefit significantly from this program," he added.
Following a clinical assessment and diagnosis at TTSH, VRT is conducted in the comfort of the patient's home with the use of a VRT medical device. The patient performs a customized therapy which displays stimuli on the screen in the area identified during diagnostic that shows potential for recovery. The patient responds to the stimulus while focusing on the fixation point displayed. Repeated exposure to these stimuli over an initial treatment period of approximately six to seven months may activate neurons and help improve vision, with some patients showing improvements within a few months of beginning therapy.
The medical device was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003 and is currently available at TTSH and major eye institutes and rehabilitation centers in the United States and Germany.
"NovaVision welcomes the Eye Institute at Tan Tock Seng Hospital to the network of leading medical institutions around the world offering NovaVision VRT," said NovaVision President and CEO Navroze Mehta. "As a renowned vision center, the Eye Institute at Tan Tock Seng Hospital is an ideal partner to expand access to VRT throughout Singapore to help improve the quality of life for patients suffering vision impairment caused by stroke and TBI."
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