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Prism Glasses Expand the View for Patients with Hemianopia
Date:5/12/2008

Schepens study opens way for high-power permanent version of the glasses

and larger new study

BOSTON, May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Innovative prism glasses can significantly improve the vision and the daily lives of patients with hemianopia, a condition that blinds half the visual field in both eyes. The peripheral prism glasses, which were invented by Dr. Eli Peli, a Senior Scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute, were evaluated in the first community-based multi- center trial of such a device, which is published in the May issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology. The study was coordinated by Dr. Alex Bowers, a Senior Scientific Associate at the Institute.

"This is the first real breakthrough in the rehabilitation of patients with this condition," says Peli, a world-renowned low vision expert, the Moakley Scholar in Aging Eye Research at Schepens and a Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Peli had searched for a solution for his hemianopia patients for many years before designing the peripheral prism glasses, creating a prototype in his laboratory.

More than a million Americans suffer from hemianopia, which blinds the vision in one half of the visual field in both eyes, resulting from damage to the optic pathways in the brain. Most commonly caused by strokes, it can also be the result of brain damage from tumors or trauma. A patient with this condition may be unaware of what he or she cannot see and frequently bumps into walls, trips over objects or walks into people on the side where the visual field is missing.

Peli's goal was to find a way to expand the visual field. He did this by attaching small, specially designed high power prisms on the top and bottom of one spectacle lens, leaving the center of the lens untouched. The prisms pull in images missing from the visual field above and below the line of sight on the side of the vision loss, and alert the patient to the presence of a pot
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SOURCE Schepens Eye Research Institute
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