3-D goggles offer hope to stroke victims

January 18, 2010 The Yomiuri Shimbun

Researchers have developed 3-D goggles that could help stroke victims recover their lost vision.

Tens of thousands of victims are thought to suffer from visual field loss, or are unable to respond even if they are able to see things.

The researchers at Tokyo University, led by professor Toshiaki Tanaka, believe the goggles -- which use 3-D imaging more commonly applied for entertainment purposes -- will help stroke victims become aware of objects in areas of vision where there has been sight loss.

The goggles could be on the market in three years, according to the researchers.

Rehabilitation from "hemispatial neglect" -- a condition in which damage to one hemisphere of the affects visual or other perceptions -- involves helping people be aware of things they are unable to see because of their condition.

An earlier device fitted with one camera showed two-dimensional images. However, movement training that required a perception of depth, such as moving indoors and changing clothes, was difficult for people with impaired vision.

The research team's new 3-D device has separate left and right cameras and can make patients aware that their field of vision has been narrowed. Compared with planar images, the new equipment has had impressive results in helping people recover a wider visual field.

"I hope these goggles will help more reintegrate into society," Tanaka said.

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