Research Article  |   December 2014
Acquisition of Visual Perception in Blind Adults Using the BrainPort Artificial Vision Device
Author Affiliations
  • Amy C. Nau, OD, is Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Eye Center; McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine; and Fox Center for Vision Restoration, Korb & Associates, Boston MA; nauxac@gmail.com
  • Christine Pintar, MS, is Clinical Research Coordinator, Fox Center for Vision Restoration, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Aimee Arnoldussen, PhD, is Technology Assessment Program Manager, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Christopher Fisher is Research Assistant, Fox Center for Vision Restoration, Sensory Substitution Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Vision / Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
Research Article   |   December 2014
Acquisition of Visual Perception in Blind Adults Using the BrainPort Artificial Vision Device
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2014, Vol. 69, 6901290010p1-6901290010p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.011809
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2014, Vol. 69, 6901290010p1-6901290010p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.011809
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We sought to determine whether intensive low vision rehabilitation would confer any functional improvement in a sample of blind adults using the BrainPort artificial vision device.

METHOD. Eighteen adults ages 28–69 yr (n = 10 men and n = 8 women) who had light perception only or worse vision bilaterally spent up to 6 hr per day for 1 wk undergoing structured rehabilitation interventions. The functional outcomes of object identification and word recognition were tested at baseline and after rehabilitation training.

RESULTS. At baseline, participants were unable to complete the two functional assessments. After participation in the 1-wk training protocol, participants were able to use the BrainPort device to complete the two tasks with moderate success.

CONCLUSION. Without training, participants were not able to perform above chance level using the BrainPort device. As artificial vision technologies become available, occupational therapy practitioners can play a key role in clients’ success or failure in using these devices.