68-year-old Vicky, who has a left visual field deficit as a result of a stroke, has regained her confidence in independent mobility and has returned to most of her everyday activities, except for driving. Guide Dogs instructors assessed Vicky in hospital, where they began a program to train her in systematic scanning strategies to encourage her to turn her head and eyes to the affected side. At home, Vicky was trained to use an ID cane for road crossings and public transport. She received help with money handling, and was referred for alternative reading materials such as talking books. “Our neurological orientation and mobility training program can help people like Vicky overcome vision problems that can have quite a big impact on their confidence and livelihoods,” Ms Fagan said.
While people recovering from strokes, tumors or brain injury might experience mobility issues like bumping into obstacles or misreading street signs, they may not realise the problem is vision related, because superficially there is nothing wrong with their eyes.However, damage to sections of the brain that control vision can cause the visual message to be misinterpreted or processed ineffectively. As experts in helping people who are blind or vision impaired, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has a number of orientation and mobility instructors who are specially trained to address neurological vision impairment problems that cause patients difficulty moving around safely and confidently.