You may have heard of the expression ‘see through the brain’. It is meant to emphasize the fact that the brain plays an equally important role for vision, as do the eye.

Our «imperfect» vision

If we go to an electronics store and see an advertisement for a camera with CMOS 120 Megapixel sensor for day and night, lens with f#2.8, fully colored image, improved color perception, automatic character reading and signal editing, we would have to admit the rate of technological advancement is shocking. However, if we describe the characteristics of our eyes in technical terms, they will sound very similar.

Our vision is «imperfect» implying that it is not limited to how well the ‘lenses’ of this ‘camera’ function in order to create an image on the retina. It is also the object perception from the photoreceptors (the quality of the film or the electronic sensor in photography terms) and the brain processing (or the computer editing in case of photographs).

The brain intervenes and ‘fixes’ the images that are formed on the retina. When these images are first received, they are smaller, flipped and distorted in comparison to the actual object. Still, we see everything as it really is.

How do we calculate the vision quality?

Through vision we do not just see an item (e.g. a newspaper); we perceive details (e.g. read the letters), the contrast (grey scales in a black & white picture), the color (in a colored picture) and the depth and movement (the landscape behind the newspaper). This signifies that our vision has plenty of requirements in order to function properly.

Moreover, we require that our eyes see well during daytime as well as during the night time, when the light is limited. We also expect to be able to see a great color scale, have clear central vision as well as a wide range of vision (peripheral perception).

How can we evaluate this complex perception? We calculate “vision” based on visual acuity, the ability of the eye to distinguish details. Various tests (eye charts) are used to establish the smallest letter size a person can read. 

When referring to ‘10/10 vision’ we refer to the smallest angle formed by two distinct characteristics in our visual field. This is considered normal vision, although it is possible to score even higher. If the optical acuity is calculated at 2/10 or lower then vision is problematic.

Another important set of tests calculates the contrast sensitivity, the ability to distinguish characteristics with different tones of gray. These tests are equally important for the evaluation of the vision quality.

Contrast sensitivity is a subjective sense and depends on the neuronal processing of the optical system. In some cases, the contrast perception diverges from the actual deviation of brightness volume and the respective nominal brightness. This can be important because even for an object well-focused on the retina, where the ‘lenses’ function properly, the brightness contrast is lesser that the one of the object.

Neuro-optical vision improvement

Even after a doctor has applied all the appropriate methods and has achieved the best possible result for the physiology and the optics of the eye in terms of visual acuity, vision can be further improved. This is accomplished through the optimization of the neuro-optical system.

The technology around the neuro-optical vision improvement (NeuroVision) is available for clinical use on the following cases: adult amblyopia, low myopia, premature presbyopia, post laser vision correction, post cataract extraction and low vision.

What is NeuroVision technology?

NeuroVision aims to increase the contrast sensitivity and the image processing sensitivity of the brain. This therapy is personalized for each individual patient and it improves the vision by stimulating it, using a computer. Moreover, it assists the nervous connections that are responsible for vision.

This active stimulation increases the sensitivity of specific neurons on the visual cortex through a series of controlled, optical exercises. It leads to increased contrast sensitivity and improved optical acuity. Patients with amblyopia may also experience enhanced binocular vision. The overall advancement is long lasting without the need for further treatment.

The technology has been clinically trialed and has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to treat amblyopia, which was thought to be incurable. It has also been marked with CE for all the above indications.

Scientific background

The development of the science behind NeuroVision is based on various studies and breakthrough discoveries on the field of optical neuroscience. The technology uses special visual stimuli called ‘Gabor transforms, named after physicist and Nobel Prize holder Dennis Gabor. 

Hubel & Wiesel performed an experiment to investigate the changes in the electric activity on the cortex of a cat in response to visual stimuli. They discovered that these neurons of the primary visual cortex respond to specific stimuli. They also found that the parameters that affect the nervous response are the exact placement of the stimulus, the orientation and the special frequency. In 1981 Hubel & Wiesel received a Nobel Prize for their discovery, which presented the primary understanding of the optical processing in the brain.

How is the treatment performed?

The patient follows the regular ophthalmological exam and his/her data are inserted in the NeuroVision system, which then creates a personalized practice program. The program produces 30-40 training sessions, to be completed on the computer, 3 times per week. Each session takes about 30 minutes. The first session takes place at the clinic under guidance and surveillance and the rest of the treatment can be done at home. During treatment period the patient will visit the clinic to get examined, follow up on the progress and for the doctor to update the system data.

Who can follow the NeuroVision treatment?

Amblyopia:

Amblyopic people over 9 years old with maximum corrected visual acuity between 6/10 and 1/10. In the presence of strabismus, it not exceed 8 degrees on the ‘πρισματική ράβδο’. There is no limitation on the refraction level.

Low Myopia:

People over 9 years old with constant myopia degrees and non-corrected optical acidity of 6/10 to 2.5/10. Maximum spherical aberrations of 1.5 and maximum astigmatism of 0.75.

Premature Presbyopia:

People between 40 and 55 years old with recent need for ‘reading glasses’, up to 1.5 add and non-corrected near optical acidity between 6.5 /10 and 2.5/10.

Post Laser Vision Correction:

Patients who undertook unsuccessful laser vision correction and experience limited contrast sensitivity or a  visual quality drop.

Post Cataract Extraction:

Patients who underwent cataract operation and have trouble difficulties adjusting post-operatively or experience reduced contrast sensitivity, whether they had monofocal or multifocal intraocular lenses implanted.

Low Vision:

Patients with various ophthalmological pathologies and maximum corrected visual acuity of 1/10.

Which are the expected outcomes of the NeuroVision treatment?

Patients who follow the NeuroVision treatment present significant improvements in their vision. Published studies show that more than 85% of patients that completed the treatment improved their optical acidity by 2.5 lines and achieved 100% contrast sensitivity. Amblyopic patients reach the maximum corrected visual acuity. They may also experience improved binocular function. 

The aim of amblyopia treatment is to improve vision reaching the best corrected visual acuity .

In the case of premature presbyopia, the goal is to delay the need for reading glasses for a few years. For low myopia and post laser vision correction the goal is to reduce the need for glasses; many patients stop wearing glasses after the treatment. For patients post cataract operation, the goal is to amplify the results and shorten the adgustment period after the operation. NeuroVision radically improves the contrast sensitivity in a short period of time. The goal for low vision patients is to increase the functional vision and the contrast sensitivity.