Patients with homonymous visual field defects experience disabling functional impairments as a consequence of their visual loss. Compensatory visual exploration training aims to improve the searching skills of these patients in order to help them to cope more effectively. However, until now the efficacy of this training has not been compared to that of a control intervention. Given that exploration training uses the visual search paradigm, which is known to require visual attention, in this study the efficacy of the technique was compared with training that requires visual attention but not exploration. Participants completed either exploration training (n = 21), or attention training followed by exploration training (n = 21). Assessment of the visual field, visual search, reading and activities of daily living were performed before and after each intervention that the participants completed. The results revealed that both the exploration training and the attention training led to significant improvements in most of the visual tasks. For most of the tasks exploration training did not prove superior to attention training, and for reading both types of intervention failed to yield any benefits. The results indicate that attention plays a large role in the rehabilitation of homonymous visual field defects.
Lane, A., Smith, D., Ellison, A., & Schenk, T. (2010). Visual exploration training is no better than attention training for treating hemianopia. Brain, 133(6), 1717-1728. https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awq088