Objective: Visual training of light detection in the transition zone between blind and healthy hemianopic visual fields leads to improvement of color and simple pattern recognition. Recently, we demonstrated that visual field enlargement (VFE) also occurs when an area just beyond the transition zone is stimulated. In the current study, we attempted to determine whether this peripheral training also causes improvement in color and shape perception and reading speed. Further, we evaluated which measure of VFE relates best to improvements in performance: the average border shift (ABS) in degrees or the estimated amount of cortical surface gain (ECSG) in millimeters, using the cortical magnification factor (CMF).
Method: Twelve patients received 40 sessions of 1-hour restorative function training (RFT). Before and after training, we measured visual fields and reading speed. Additionally, color and shape perception in the trained visual field area was measured in 7 patients.
Results: VFE was found for 9 of 12 patients. Significant improvements were observed in reading speed for 8 of 12 patients and in color and shape perception for 3 of 7 patients. ECSG correlates significantly with performance; ABS does not. Our data indicate that the threshold ECSG, needed for significant changes in color and shape perception and reading speed, is about 6 mm.
Conclusions: White stimulus training-induced VFE can lead to improved color and shape perception and to increased reading speed in and beyond the pretraining transition zone if ECSG is sufficiently large. The latter depends on the eccentricity of the VFE.