Vision Coach is a novel piece of equipment used by Nascar drivers and police tactical units to sharpen their visual skills, and now Parkwood Hospital has become the first hospital in Canada to use it to re-train patients' visual skills impacted after a brain injury or stroke.
Vision Coach is an interactive light board that helps patients practice eye movements and hand/eye coordination. The height of the board, visual stimulus and complexity of tasks are tailored to meet each patient's needs.
William Lunn, 27, finds Vision Coach is improving his peripheral vision. In 2011 he suddenly passed out at work. After other near-collapses and a battery of tests, he learned he had hit the tipping point from the many concussions he sustained through years playing contact sports like hockey and football.
"I can't walk well and have headaches, but one of my most unusual symptoms is that everything I look at is shaking," he says.
Vision problems for those with neurological injuries go beyond eyesight, because it is through vision that meaning is derived. Therefore, for many patients improving visual function enhances their quality of life.
To help with his vision, William trains regularly on the Vision Coach. His occupational therapist, Nicole McLean, programs Vision Coach specifically for him.
"Vision Coach collects data on patients, so we can accurately track their visual progress and help them set goals," Nicole says. She adds, "Patients have fun using this new technology which replaces exercises previously done such as visually scanning for sticky notes with numbers and letters scattered on the wall."