Amy C. Nau, Christine Pintar, Aimee Arnoldussen, Christopher Fisher; Acquisition of Visual Perception in Blind Adults Using the BrainPort Artificial Vision Device. Am J Occup Ther 2014;69(1):6901290010p1-6901290010p8. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.011809.
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© 2019 American Occupational Therapy Association
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.
Sensory substitution devices are a novel and potentially viable method for enabling a sense of the environment for people with blindness.
Use of these devices is not intuitive and requires structured and detailed training over the course of several months.
The occupational therapy community must work with developers of artificial vision technologies to optimize training programs.
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