Visual Neglect

This is a neurological condition that is caused by damage to one if the hemispheres of the brain. This damage causes the patient to be unable to pay attention to one half of their visual field – they just ignore everything in it.

This condition – sometimes known as unilateral neglect, is most common when the right hemisphere is damaged as this hemisphere is involved in distributing attention. Damage to the right hemisphere causes neglect in the left visual field.

The area of the brain thought to be damaged in most cases of neglect is the posterior parietal cortex – shown on the diagram of the brain below:

 

http://www.livescience.com/7110-store.html

The following examples are from a patient with unilateral neglect who has been asked to copy some images:

http://www.acbrown.com/neuro/Lectures/Assc/NrAsscPrtl.htm

As you can see, they ignore the left side of the drawings. Patients will also ignore the food on one half of their plate and can also neglect one side of their body.

Neglect syndrome can occur after a stroke which damages the right hemisphere – the good news is that with occupational therapy, the patient’s condition can improve over time. One method which has been shown to help patients attend to their neglected side is to use prism glasses, which direct their eyes to their left visual field.

That’s all for now, check back soon for more posts + thanks for reading 🙂

 

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