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    How VR Environments help improve vision and balance for stroke patients

    Stroke or what is also referred to as a brain attack is a common cause of major disability, and it can affect anyone. Stroke is something that can be extremely debilitating and life-changing for the patient.

    • Estimates show that 15mn people worldwide are prone to stroke attacks every year. Outofthesealmost55-75% live with motor issues and have reduced quality of life.

    It occurs when blood vessels in the brain are blocked. It can cause a variety of health problems after the initial event. This can include problems with vision, problems with balance and movement, and cognitive issues. . As a result, there is a need to search for better treatments and techniques that can help those with the condition. One effective and promising tool is Virtual Reality. VR stroke rehabilitation and VR vision therapy are increasingly being used to give patients a sense of balance and to improve their vision. This post will explain what causes stroke, and why healthcare professionals are using VR environments to help with recovery and rehabilitation

    Stroke and Balance Dysfunction

    Stroke causes cognitive and motor skills debilities. Stroke patients often suffer from poor balance. Reports suggest that almost 83% of stroke survivors are inflicted with balance dysfunctions. This can lead to falls and more damage to the patient. Normally, patients undergo physiotherapy as a rehabilitation treatment. However, nowadays, with the advancement of health tech, virtual reality is an emerging effective treatment option. VR environments offer simulations and multisensory real-time feedback to help improve balance and posture in stroke patients.

    Stroke and Vision Loss

    Reports suggest that two-thirds of stroke patients deal with vision loss.

    Moreover, there are no standardized recuperation therapies to help restore lost vision in stroke patients. The extent of vision impairment depends largely on where the stroke affects the brain. Some of the major issues patients face include visual field loss, visual processing, eye nerve control, light sensitivity etc. Virtual Reality is helping professionals and patients by combining audio and visual stimuli to offer multisensory exercises. Eye trackers in VR environments are being assessed for their effectiveness to help improve vision.

    How Stroke Patients have benefitted from VR Environments

    The use of virtual reality (VR) in healthcare has been flourishing and has become a powerful rehabilitative tool. Within Virtual reality environments, patients are immersed in simulated 3D immersive scenarios that are akin to real-world scenarios. VR therapy offers an engaging and safe goal-focused environment. The simulated environment can be navigated as per the patient’s needs and functional abilities. VR therapy and intervention for stroke patients satisfy the requirements for neurological rehabilitation through the use of simulated real-world scenarios that allow intense therapy, replications, and goal-focused tasks. VR is an effective tool as it also offers the facility to track and measure data thus enabling effective performance feedback.

    A study was conducted on three stroke patients to assess balance equilibrium, posture, and vestibular and visual implications.

    Patient 1 received 25 VR sessions over the period of two months Patient 2 received equivalent conventional physiotherapy while Patient 3 received zero therapy and intervention. The study reported that the two patients who underwent treatment showed improvement over the patient who received no intervention. And between Patients 1 and 2, Patient 1 who was exposed to VR therapy reported a better sense of balance and lesser falls.

    The immersive VR environments offered active upright exercises which helped in patient outcomes. Healthcare centres are leveraging the power of cutting edge VR technology for positive patient outcomes and enhance therapist efficiency.

    Wrapping Up

    Strokes are not just a fallout of a disease but can cause major physiological and psychological impacts. Sometimes, in spite of the best efforts by patients, the disconnect between the brain and body as a result of a stroke can become an insurmountable challenge. VR stroke rehabilitation as an intervention method shows it to be an effective motor and vision skill retention in stroke patients. VR therapy is developed and rooted in sound brain neuroplasticity evidence and is known to offer cortical activation. Many healthcare centres are deploying it and studies are being carried out to gauge the efficacy of VR rehabilitation. But virtual reality simulation can help patients overcome these challenges. Moreover, VR environments are adaptable, and scalable and hence can be curated to suit the patient’s needs.

    Stroke patients dealing with motor and cognitive issues or seeking vision therapy solutions should certainly check out VR healthcare solutions. It can unlock holistic improvements for patients and open the doors to living a full and independent life.

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