Efficacy and feasibility of home-based training for individuals with homonymous visual field defects.
Aimola L., Lane AR., Smith DT., Kerkhoff G., Ford GA., Schenk T.
BACKGROUND: Homonymous visual field defects (HVFDs) are one of the most common consequences of stroke. Compensatory training encourages affected individuals to develop more efficient eye movements to improve function. However, training is typically supervised, which can be time consuming and costly. OBJECTIVE: To develop and evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of an unsupervised reading and exploration computer training for individuals with HVFDs. METHODS: Seventy individuals with chronic HVFDs were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: intervention or control. The former received 35 hours of reading and exploration training, and the latter received 35 hours of control training. Visual and attentional abilities were assessed before and after training using perimetry, visual search, reading, activities of daily living, the Test of Everyday Attention, and a Sustained Attention to Response task. RESULTS: Eighteen individuals failed to complete the training; analyses were conducted on the remaining 28 intervention and 24 control group participants. Individuals in the intervention group demonstrated significant improvements in the primary outcomes of exploration (12.87%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 8.44% to 17.30%) and reading (18.45%, 95% CI = 9.93% to 26.97%), which were significantly greater than those observed following the control intervention (exploration = 4.80%, 95% CI = 0.09% to 9.51%; reading = 1.95%, 95% CI = -4.78% to 8.68%). Participants in the intervention group also reported secondary subjective improvements, although these were not matched by objective gains in tasks simulating activities of daily living. CONCLUSIONS: Home-based compensatory training is an inexpensive accessible rehabilitation option for individuals with HVFDs, which can result in objective benefits in searching and reading, as well as improving quality of life.