JOURNAL ARTICLE

Rehabilitation of hemianopic dyslexia: are words necessary for re-learning oculomotor control?

Susanne Schuett, Charles A Heywood, Robert W Kentridge, Josef Zihl
Brain 2008, 131: 3156-68
18984602
Unilateral homonymous visual field disorders after brain damage are frequently associated with a severe impairment of reading, called hemianopic dyslexia. A specific treatment method has been developed which allows patients to regain sufficient reading performance by re-learning eye-movement control in reading through systematic oculomotor practice. However, it is still unclear whether the treatment effect associated with this training procedure critically depends on using text material. We therefore evaluated the effectiveness of systematic oculomotor training with non-text material (Arabic digits) in comparison with conventional oculomotor training using text material (words) in 40 patients with unilateral homonymous visual field disorders and hemianopic dyslexia. Non-text training was found to be as effective as conventional text training in improving reading performance and associated eye-movements in these patients. Our results suggest that using words is not critical to the treatment effect of this training procedure. Thus, lexical-semantic processes seem not to be necessary for re-learning eye-movement control in hemianopic dyslexia.

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