Visual field loss can be restored when a certain patients undergo rehabilitative measures, according to new research published in Clinical Neurology. The research team says this shows that the brain’s attention network is a key mechanism in partially reversing the blindness caused by the condition.

The China-based investigative team looked at seven cases of severe, chronic hemianopic with post-chiasmatic lesions. The patients were put through five weeks of visual rehabilitation training under fixation control. The training sessions lasted approximately 90 minutes a day for six days over the five weeks.

They were examined with perimetry testing, contrast sensitivity testing and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) both before and after the training.

The fMRI found that, following the patients’ training, the connectivities between the right temporoparietal junction to the insula and the anterior cingulate cortex was strengthened, leading to significant functional improvements.

 “No significant correlation between alterations of brain activity and improvements of either CSF [contrast sensitivity function] or ARV [area of residual vision] was found,” the team also reported.

Lu Q, Wang X, Lin L, et al. Visual rehabilitation training alters attentional networks in hemianopia: An fMRI study. Clin Neuro. 2018;129(9):1832-41.