Experts have succeeded in mapping the visual activity of the brain in stroke survivors with vision loss

The loss of vision is one of the consequences that can cause stroke, which is the leading cause of acquired disability in adults. Well, a new study has given a glimmer of hope in the rehabilitation and recovery of the view.

A group of scientists have managed to map the visual activity of the brain in survivors of a stroke with loss of sight. The study has been published in the journal 'Frontiers in Neuroscience'. The research has been led by scientists from the University of Nottingham (UK).

As detailed in the article, scientists have combined data from clinical eye tests with brain imaging. All this with the aim of accurately mapping the areas of the brain affected by loss of sight.

In this way, the visual areas of the brain have been identified where function could potentially be improved with rehabilitation. In this case, the study has combined detailed perimetry and multiple brain imaging datasets from four stroke survivors.

Thus, it is shown that perimetry can be augmented with brain imaging data to provide a novel measure of residual visual field function.

Stroke »affects vision through a particular eye»

“A common misconception with stroke-related vision loss is that it affects the vision through one eye in particular”, says the author of the study, Anthony Beh.

View

However, «what is actually happening is that the eyes see normally, but the brain cannot process part of the information”.

This type of vision loss can be a particular problem when driving, reading or navigating in a crowded space. It can also increase the risk of falls in older people, experts point out.

By exploring stroke-damaged brains with fMRI and different types of visual stimulation, «we found residual activity in the visual cortex, not detected by perimetry. This opens up possibilities for rehabilitation and offers new hope to survivors of a cerebrovascular accident«. This has been explained by the author of the study, Anthony Beh.

There are different areas of 'residual vision'

According to the study's supervisor, Denis Schluppeck, examining different types of brain scans has allowed them to observe areas of 'residual vision'; as well as places where the eyes and the brain can still process images, even if this does not reach consciousness.

“By using MRI to identify these areas of functional vision, clinicians could work with the stroke survivor and train it to recover some function in that particular place”, he has maintained.

Furthermore, research has shown that the same visual field loss can be caused by very different patterns of brain damage.

This highlights the need for individualized rehabilitation plans for stroke survivors.