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Department of Psychology

Durham Reading & Exploration (DREX) Training

Homonymous visual field defects, such as hemianopia, involve partial blindness in both eyes which occurs following damage to the parts of the brain responsible for processing visual information. They are one of the most common and disabling consequences of brain damage, with the visual loss impacting on numerous everyday activities like crossing the street, avoiding obstacles, shopping, reading and driving.

Here in the psychology department at Durham University we have been investigating homonymous visual field defects and have been developing training programs that may be used in the rehabilitation of such impairments. The aim of our training is not to try and restore the lost vision but rather to help people to learn compensatory strategies to help them overcome the difficulties which they experience due to the visual deficit.

Our most recent training program (Durham Reading and Exploration training; DREX) is computer-based and self-adjusting, allowing people to train themselves easily in their own home. It involves a series of tasks which encourage visual exploration. These gradually get more difficult thereby promoting the development of more efficient eye-movements and increased visual awareness. Half of the training is also specifically tailored towards improving reading, a common problem associated with visual field loss. If you would like more information about the training then please see our training details page, or if you want to order a copy to try yourself then please contact us.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I have learned to cope much better visually with the help of the training programme. I can read and write much better. The programme has taught me patience, given me confidence and raised my self-esteem”

Sheila from Saltburn