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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

People see clearly after brain is ‘retrained’
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

People see clearly after brain is ‘retrained’ image

People with poor eyesight have been able to see clearly without glasses for up to two hours after a mild electrical current had retrained the visual processing area of their brains.

Most eyesight-correcting therapies, such as Lasik laser therapy, or wearing glasses or contact lenses, have centred on the eye itself, but the new approach—developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University—focuses on the brain and the way it processes visual information.

It seems to help most people with some degree of myopia, or short-sightedness, and those with more severe problems appear to benefit the most.

It’s been tested on 20 volunteers, whose eyesight was tested before and after they had been given a mild electrical current for 20 minutes, designed to ‘reprogram’ the visual cortex.

After one session, the volunteers were able to see two more letters on a standard eye chart, and those with the worst eyesight showed the greatest improvements, and which lasted for up to two hours.

The researchers aren’t sure why the current is improving vision; they speculate that it might be introducing white noise that drowns out extraneous information and so allows the brain to capture visual information more easily.


References

(Source: Current Biology, 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.05.019)

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