Hemianopsia and Neglect
Patients who have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury, may lose one half of their side vision to the right or left. This type of side vision loss is called” Hemianopsia” (hemi field loss). Patients who just have a hemianopsia are aware of the side vision loss and often can be easily taught to scan their eyes in the direction of the hemianopsia, in order to compensate for the field loss. This allows them to not miss things on the side of the hemianopsia.
“Neglect” is the inattention to, or lack of awareness of visual space to the right or left and is most often associated with a hemianopsia. The lesion in the brain causing neglect usually occurs in the right frontal-parietal lobe, resulting in a left side neglect. Some patients just have a hemianopsia with no neglect, but others may experience a lot of “neglect” and may be unaware that they can not see to the affected side.
Signs and Symptoms of Hemianopsia and Neglect
· Can not or does not readily/spontaneously scan into the area of the hemianopsia.
· Bumps into things on side of the hemianopsia but doesn’t learn to compensate for the problem
· Says doesn’t see out of the eye (on the side of the neglect)
· No awareness that a hemi field loss exists
· Misses parts of words on the side of the neglect when reading
· Misses parts of eye chart line on the side of the neglect
· Tendency to orient head or body turned away from the neglect, and the patient may ambulate/drift in direction away from the neglect.
Treatment for Hemianopsia
IALVS optometrists have successfully treated hundreds of patients who have hemianopsia. These custom made “Side Vision Awareness Glasses” allow an immediate increase of about 15° in side vision awareness. This helps reduce hemianopsia-related safety issues and enhances the patient’s performance of many activities of daily living. “Side Vision Awareness Glasses” were developed by, Dr. Errol Rummel, IALVS member.