Coronavirus has meant many of our projects have ground to a halt, but in spite of the disruption we’ve been pressing on by moving some research online. Something we’re delighted to be making progress with is Dan Ford and James Ireland’s MSc project, which explores the use of prism glasses by people with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). People with PSP often have problems looking downwards, which makes it hard for them to see what is happening in the lower visual field. Many everyday tasks like eating, reading and using a computer rely on being able to look down into the lower part of the visual field, which makes them very difficult for people with PSP. Prism glasses bend the light so that that the lower visual field can be seen without having to move the eyes. They are cheap and easy to use, so appear to have great potential as a compensatory tool. They are widely used to treat other neurological disorders which affect vision, such has hemispatial neglect and hemianopia.
However, prisms do have some disadvantages. For example, they can be heavy and it takes time to get used to the way they change how the world looks. Furthermore, nobody really knows how useful they are or how widely used they are because nobody has asked people with PSP. Dan and James’s project aims to start answering this important issue by surveying people with PSP about their attitudes towards, and experiences of, using prism glasses. It’s one of the first surveys of its kind and we’re hoping that the results will help us better understand how people use prisms, whether they find them useful, and/or the problems or impediments that people experience when using prism glasses. If you have PSP and would like to take part the questionnaire can be found here:
Dan and James are being supervised by Dr Alison Lane and the project is a collaboration with the PSP Association. You can find out more about Dr Ali Lane’s research on neurorehabilitation on her homepage.
If you are interested, some of our related research can be found here:
- Smith, D.T. & Archibald, N. (2020). Spatial Working Memory in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. Cortex 122: 115-122.
- Smith, D.T. & Archibald, N. (2018). Visual Search in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. In Processes of Visuo-spatial Attention and Working Memory. Hodgson, T. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. 305-324.
- Aimola, L, Rogers, G., Kerkoff, G., Smith, D.T. & Schenk, T. (2012). Visuomotor adaptation is impaired in patients with unilateral neglect. Neuropsychologia 50(6): 1158-1163.
- Rogers, G, Smith, D.T. & Schenk, T (2009). Immediate and delayed actions share a common visuomotor transformation mechanism: A prism adaptation study. Neuropsychologia 47(6): 1546-1552.