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NeuroRehabilitation. 2010;27(4):321-5. doi: 10.3233/NRE-2010-0615.

Rehabilitation of cortical blindness secondary to stroke.

Author information

1
Rehabilitation Medicine, Leigh Infirmary, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, Lancs, UK. tgaber@doctors.net.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cortical blindness is a rare complication of posterior circulation stroke. However, its complex presentation with sensory, physical, cognitive and behavioural impairments makes it one of the most challenging. Appropriate approach from a rehabilitation standpoint was never reported.

AIM:

Our study aims to discuss the rehabilitation methods and outcomes of a cohort of patients with cortical blindness.

METHOD:

The notes of all patients with cortical blindness referred to a local NHS rehabilitation service in the last 6~years were examined. Patients' demographics, presenting symptoms, scan findings, rehabilitation programmes and outcomes were documented.

RESULTS:

Seven patients presented to our service, six of them were males. The mean age was 63. Patients 1, 2 and 3 had total blindness with severe cognitive and behavioural impairments, wandering and akathisia. All of them failed to respond to any rehabilitation effort and the focus was on damage limitation. Pharmacological interventions had a modest impact on behaviour and sleep pattern. The 3 patients were discharged to a nursing facility. Patients 4, 5, 6 and 7 had partial blindness with variable severity. All of them suffered from significant memory impairment. However, none suffered from any behavioural, physical or other cognitive impairment. Rehabilitation efforts on 3 patients were carried out collaboratively between brain injury occupational therapists and sensory disability officers. All patients experienced significant improvement in handicap and they all maintained community placements.

CONCLUSION:

This small cohort of patients suggests that the rehabilitation philosophy and outcomes of these 2 distinct groups of either total or partial cortical blindness differ significantly.

PMID:
21160121
DOI:
10.3233/NRE-2010-0615
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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