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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 176806, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/176806
Clinical Study

A Pilot Evaluation of On-Road Detection Performance by Drivers with Hemianopia Using Oblique Peripheral Prisms

1Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, 20 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA
2CARA Department, Belgian Road Safety Institute, 1130 Brussels, Belgium

Received 20 July 2012; Accepted 24 October 2012

Academic Editor: Stefano Paolucci

Copyright © 2012 Alex R. Bowers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Aims. Homonymous hemianopia (HH), a severe visual consequence of stroke, causes difficulties in detecting obstacles on the nonseeing (blind) side. We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the effects of oblique peripheral prisms, a novel development in optical treatments for HH, on detection of unexpected hazards when driving. Methods. Twelve people with complete HH (median 49 years, range 29–68) completed road tests with sham oblique prism glasses (SP) and real oblique prism glasses (RP). A masked evaluator rated driving performance along the 25 km routes on busy streets in Ghent, Belgium. Results. The proportion of satisfactory responses to unexpected hazards on the blind side was higher in the RP than the SP drive (80% versus 30%; ), but similar for unexpected hazards on the seeing side. Conclusions. These pilot data suggest that oblique peripheral prisms may improve responses of people with HH to blindside hazards when driving and provide the basis for a future, larger-sample clinical trial. Testing responses to unexpected hazards in areas of heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic appears promising as a real-world outcome measure for future evaluations of HH rehabilitation interventions aimed at improving detection when driving.