Computer-based training for the treatment of partial blindness

Nat Med. 1998 Sep;4(9):1083-7. doi: 10.1038/2079.


Partial blindness after brain injury has been considered non-treatable. To evaluate whether patients with visual-field defects can profit from computer-based visual restitution training (VRT), two independent clinical trials were conducted using patients with optic nerve (n = 19) or post-chiasmatic brain injury (n = 19). In post-chiasma patients, VRT led to a significant improvement (29.4%) over baseline in the ability to detect visual stimuli; in optic nerve patients, the effects were even more pronounced (73.6% improvement). Visual-field enlargements were confirmed by the observation of a visual-field expansion of 4.9 degrees-5.8 degrees of visual angle and improved acuity in optic nerve patients. Ninety five percent of the VRT-treated patients showed improvements, 72.2% confirmed visual improvements subjectively. Patients receiving a placebo training did not show comparable improvements. In conclusion, VRT with a computer program improves vision in patients with visual-field defects and offers a new, cost-effective therapy for partial blindness.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blindness, Cortical / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Research Design
  • Software
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vision, Ocular
  • Visual Fields