Statistics show that stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability and, although each person is unique, stroke can affect people similarly with comparable disabilities such as partial blindness due to visual field loss – a condition previously believed to be untreatable. In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, NovaVision, Inc. offers inspirational stroke survivor stories of vision recovery through the use of its clinically supported, light stimulation-based Vision Restoration Therapy (VRT) – and how this non-invasive treatment course has improved their sight, and overall quality of life.
“While science shows that the brain can produce minimal spontaneous recovery within the first few months after a stroke occurs, some patients plateau and the words, ‘there’s nothing else that can be done’ can be extremely disheartening,”notes Tom Bridges, NovaVision vice president of sales and marketing. “Vision Restoration Therapy (VRT) is a non-invasive approach to ‘rewire’ the visual nerves, aiming the healthy neurons to perform the function of those damaged or destroyed by a stroke – resulting in a wider visual field.”
Bridges continues, “While speech, physical and occupational therapies are the long-standing treatment regimens for stroke and brain trauma patients, vision rehabilitation has been an unmet need in the paradigm. Our non-invasive Vision Restoration Therapy (VRT) is an exciting option for those patients that are left with a field loss of vision as a result of neurological trauma. VRT is supported by 15 years of clinical studies and patient testimonials and is intended for the diagnosis and improvement of visual functions in patients who have suffered a visual loss resulting from stroke, traumatic brain injury (“TBI”), or other acquired brain injuries.”
Stroke Survivors Regain Lost Sight
Retired physician Dr. Ramon is a middle-aged man who experienced a left parietoocipital CVA (stroke) in 2001 after having surgery for Coronary Artery Bypass. As a residual deficit of the Stroke, he suffered from homonymous hemianopsia (right side visual loss in both eyes). “I lost about half of my field of vision, and at that time there were no options available for improving my visual field.” He notes. Having homonymous hemianopsia made it very difficult for Dr. Ramon to read, watch TV, and go to the movies – things that he used to enjoy easily before his stroke. In 2004, he decided to research on his own believing that there must be a better solution and this was not only as good as he would get.
While searching the Internet Dr. Ramon found information on NovaVision’s Vision Restoration Therapy (VRT) non-invasive, clinically supported neurostimulation device. Intrigued, he contacted NovaVision’s Patient Services and was referred to a neurologist familiar with the VRT program, Dr. Jose Romano M.D., at the University of Miami. After learning more about VRT Dr. Ramon decided to move forward with the therapy and began performing VRT in the comfort of his home for just 30 minutes twice a day.
Together NovaVision and Dr. Jose Romano monitored his progress and, seeing that his visual field was still expanding and, thus, eyesight improving, he was able to continue VRT until his visual field stabilized. “I read more often, I bought myself a new TV and am able see the entire screen, and even enjoy going to the movies again,” states Ramon. “I am very pleased with the results of the therapy and would recommend it for others with similar visual problems.” Dr. Ramon currently resides in California and still benefits from improved visual functions as a result of VRT.
Another individual, Dan, at the incredibly young age of 25 suffered from two strokes when he had an AVM rupture (cerebral arteriovenous malformation), which led to swelling of the brain that left him almost completely blind in one eye and half blind in the other – events that changed his life completely. Dan could no longer watch TV, read, or drive a car, and he had trouble achieving simple daily activities that we take for granted like walking without bumping into things, or mowing the lawn.
The facility he went to after his stoke told him, “The way you see now is the way you will see for the rest of your life.” Determined to find another answer, Dan searched for “vision loss after stroke” on Google and found NovaVision’s web site. Reading the statistics on patient outcomes and learning he had a 70% chance of restoring his vision gave him some hope. “I knew I had to give it a shot because my only other option was to stay severely visually impaired for the rest of my life,” said Dan. “All I wanted was to see my family and friends again.”
Dan found the VRT non-invasive therapy to be easy to use and has recovered remarkably well – expanding his visual field significantly after completing only 6 months of therapy. “It is the best thing I have ever done in my life,” Dan notes. He knows that everyone responds differently to the therapy, but with hope anything is possible. Dan never gave up and, as a result, he is able to see his family and friends again. Dan recently celebrated his 30th birthday by regaining his driver’s license and his independence.
Stroke-Provoked Vision Loss
There are more than 6 million stroke survivors living today in America, of which about 20% may suffer from visual field loss – a previously unmet need in the stroke rehabilitation paradigm. Many types of vision loss can occur, but the most common kind is hemianopia described as a decreased or lost vision in half of the visual field. Other visual field deficits include scotoma (an island-like blind spot), quadrantoanopia (decreased or lost vision in a quarter of the visual field), and constriction (tunnel vision).
Science shows that the brain can produce minimal spontaneous recovery after a stroke or TBI, but for those who no longer see improvement should receive a proper diagnosis from a physician and inquire about a vision rehabilitation plan like VRT that could help improve visual functions. According to NovaVision, the age of the patient and the amount of time between the neurological traumas does not make a difference. Performing any type of therapy may take some time, and a little work and dedication, but it is possible for stroke victims to recover a part of their lost sight. From a functional perspective even a small gain in central vision has a large impact on the individual’s quality of life.
NovaVision, . “Stroke Survivors Recovering Lost Vision With Non-Invasive Light Therapy.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 13 May. 2011. Web.
14 Nov. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/225292>
NovaVision, . (2011, May 13). “Stroke Survivors Recovering Lost Vision With Non-Invasive Light Therapy.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from