Visual training and emotional state of people with retinitis pigmentosa

J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013;50(8):1157-68. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2012.06.0113.


The purpose of the study was to improve the visual functioning of people with restriction in contrast sensitivity (CS), such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP), by means of a visual training program. Twenty-six volunteers with RP participated, distributed in two groups: 15 who made up the experimental group (who received the training program) and 11 who participated as a control group (without training). Participants were evaluated before beginning training, on completion, and 3 mo following completion for CS with the Pelli-Robson Contrast Sensitivity (P&R) test, visual functioning with the Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ), and in emotional state with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The training program is based on software that generates luminous stimuli of varying duration and intensity and registers the stimuli perceived by the subject. The outcomes showed significant differences posttraining in the experimental group in depression (F1,14 = 5.42; p < 0.04), VFQ (Z = -2.27; p < 0.02), and P&R in the right eye (Z = -1.99; p < 0.046) and left eye (Z = -2.30; p < 0.02) but not in binocular (Z = -0.96; p < 0.34). The outcomes showed that the experimental group made significant progress in all variables and these effects remained after 3 mo, which suggests that the program could be a helpful addition to RP rehabilitation and help mitigate the damage.

Keywords: adults; contrast sensitivity; depression; emotional state; rehabilitation; retinal degenerative diseases; retinitis pigmentosa; visual functioning; visual performance; visual training.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microcomputers
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / physiopathology
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / psychology*
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / rehabilitation*
  • Software
  • Visual Fields
  • Young Adult