Peripheral Prisms Improve Obstacle Detection during Simulated Walking for Patients with Left Hemispatial Neglect and Hemianopia

Date Published:

2018 Sep


SIGNIFICANCE: The first report on the use of peripheral prisms (p-prisms) for patients with left neglect and homonymous visual field defects (HVFDs). PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate if patients with left hemispatial neglect and HVFDs benefit from p-prisms to expand the visual field and improve obstacle detection. METHODS: Patients (24 with HVFDs, 10 of whom had left neglect) viewed an animated, virtual, shopping mall corridor and reported if they would have collided with a human obstacle that appeared at various offsets up to 13.5° from their simulated walking path. There were 40 obstacle presentations on each side, with and without p-prisms. No training with p-prisms was provided, and gaze was fixed at the center of expansion. RESULTS: Detection on the side of the HVFD improved significantly with p-prisms in both groups, from 26 to 92% in the left-neglect group and 43 to 98% in the non-neglect group (both P < .001). There was a tendency for greater improvement in the neglect patients with p-prisms. For collision judgments, both groups exhibited a large increase in perceived collisions on the side of the HVFD with the prisms (P < .001), with no difference between the groups (P = .93). Increased perceived collisions represent a wider perceived safety margin on the side of the HVFD. CONCLUSIONS: Within the controlled conditions of this simulated, collision judgment task, patients with left neglect responded well to initial application of p-prisms exhibiting improved detection and wider safety margins on the side of the HVFD that did not differ from non-neglect patients. Further study of p-prisms for neglect patients in free-gaze conditions after extended wear and in real-world mobility tasks is clearly warranted.

Last updated on 10/03/2018