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FAQs about Vision Restoration Therapy – Help for Stroke and Brain Injury Patients

NovaVision, Inc. developed Vision Restoration Therapy to help stroke and head injury patients regain their vision, mobility, confidence, and quality of life. Learn the answers to frequently asked questions about the basics of vision rehabilitation, including how long the therapy takes, how it works, and more.

What is Vision Restoration Therapy?

NovaVision’s Vision Restoration Therapy, or VRT, is a restoration therapy specifically developed for patients who suffer from a visual field deficit resulting from a neurological trauma such as stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI). VRT is a prescription therapy undertaken in the comfort of a patient’s own home, clinically supported by more than 15 years of research and 20 studies with FDA 510(k) clearance to be marketed in the US.

While other rehabilitation modalities such as speech, physical and occupational therapy have been considered a standard of care for stroke and traumatic brain injury, NovaVision Vision Restoration Therapy addresses a previously unmet need for vision rehabilitation. Unlike other rehabilitation approaches that help patients compensate for their vision loss, VRT is developed to increase the sensitivity within the blind areas. Patients normally undergo VRT for six months, during which time they perform twice daily sessions six days per week, focusing and responding to light stimuli.
Visual field loss prevents patients from engaging in many normal day-to-day activities. In a retrospective study, more than 70 percent of patients who completed VRT showed measurable improvements in their vision that enhanced their quality of life.1

NovaVision provides VRT in a therapy suite with its complementary compensatory NeuroEyeCoach therapy to maximize patient benefit.

1Romano JG, et al, Visual field changes after a rehabilitation intervention: Vision Restoration therapy, J Neurol Sci (2008), doi:10.1016/j.jns.2008.06.026 (NovaVision sponsored study)
What vision defects can be treated with Vision Restoration Therapy?

NovaVision Vision Restoration Therapy is cleared by the FDA to treat visual impairments caused by stroke, brain injury, brain tumors, and brain surgery.

Vision Restoration Therapy can treat any of the following vision defects:

  • Hemianopia (decreased or lost vision in one half of the visual field)
  • Quadrantanopia (decreased or lost vision in one quarter of the visual field)
  • Scotoma (island of visual impairment)
  • Diffuse field defect , including constriction of the field of vision (tunnel vision) caused by a tumor, brain surgery, or brain disorders

Who is Eligible for Vision Restoration Therapy?

Most patients with visual field defects as a result of neurological trauma, who have some residual vision and no physical damage to the eye, are eligible for VRT and may benefit from the treatment. However, there are certain conditions in which VRT may not be suitable or which may interfere with the effectiveness of VRT:

  • Patients with a history of seizure disorders, especially those who are photosensitive, must NOT undergo NovaVision VRT until they have consulted with their health care professional. In patients with uncontrolled photosensitive seizure disorders, visual stimulation may have adverse effects including, but not limited to, seizures.
  • Those with significant cognitive deficits.
  • We recommend that patients suffering from acute inflammation of the eyes or central nervous system delay therapy until the acute phase is over.

Patients need to have the ability to sit upright and concentrate on a task without distraction for 15-30 minutes, should be motivated towards rehabilitation and able to commit to approximately an hour a day of therapy, six days a week. Because the treatment requires patients to be seated for extended periods, patients who have been previously diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or who may have an increased risk of experiencing DVT, should consult with their physician before initiating the VRT therapy program.

For full details of the patient requirements, contraindications, warnings and precautions, please view the Patient Requirements section.

Our Online Vision Test  screening tool is a good indicator of whether you can perform VRT successfully.

Can myopia or farsightedness be treated with Vision Restoration Therapy?

VRT is indicated only to treat visual impairments caused by neurological disorders such as stroke, head injuries, and brain tumors at this time. Refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia are not treated with VRT.

Does the amount of time since an injury affect whether a patient qualifies for VRT?

The time between the injury and beginning therapy does not affect efficacy. There have been many successful outcomes for patients who suffered vision loss decades before receiving the therapy.

Does vision rehabilitation have any age limitations?

Although there are no age limits for the therapy, VRT is not recommended for children, due to the requirement to be able concentrate for two sessions of 15-25 minutes a day, six days a week.