Neuro-optometric rehabilitation - anyone tried it? - Headway

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Neuro-optometric rehabilitation - anyone tried it?



I'm new and I have a question. Has anyone here tried neuro-optometric rehabilitation, and what were the results? I've just read a book called The Ghost In My Brain and become very interested, but it seems a very new/under-researched field.

All input is appreciated, and I can expand on my own situation if you want :)


27 Replies

Hi Nightbird, thanks for the heads up on this. Since my ABI I have lost some peripheral vision, I constantly walk into things etc etc. It took me ages to convince the professionals on my case that I had vision problems, I'm afraid standing at the bottom of your bed and waggling fingers at you just doesn't cut it. But since finally getting tests to discover that vision loss it all stopped but at least it's now on my records for whatever good that will do.

But your post has made me do some research into this and I have found an optometrist fairly local who I can contact and so be it, I will pay especially if it helps my balance.

So, thank you again, I will post my findings in due course.

Janet xx

NightBird in reply to Kirk5w7

Thanks for the reply! Awareness of this particular field seems low, and information incredibly scattered. Optometrists who don't specialise may or may not know about it, so you might want to read the book I mentioned, or visit the website . I'll keep you informed of my own developments. :)


P.S. I know *all* about not being listened to...

I listened to a podcast a while ago about vision therapy for BI. Not sure if it's the same as neuro-optometric rehab but might be worth a listen:

NightBird in reply to Lazuli

Yes, it's in the same field, and thank you! They did briefly mention neuro-optometric rehab (I listened to the podcast), but because they focused on vision, the part I find most mindblowing wasn't mentioned. It's the idea that you can fix certain cognitive problems by using visual system stimulation. Brain exercises to fix vision are pretty commonly understood, but doing it the other way round seems phenomenally weird. Still, it makes sense if cognition and vision are deeply, subtly integrated.

So I'm wondering how well known this area is in the cognitive rehabilitation field. My own experiences can't tell me much because I was never sent to rehabilitation in the first place! The symptoms were caused by a vaccine, not a classic head injury, so I got disbelief and well-meaning psychobabble instead of actual help. If neuro-optometric rehab works on me, I have ten years' worth of angry letters to send out. :D

Lazuli in reply to NightBird

This and other related therapies are cutting edge, some are still in the testing phase while others are being used for neurological conditions, not necessarily brain injury.

If you want to read something else mind blowing and haven't already, check out Norman Doidge's second book The Brain's Way of Healing as well as his first one The Brain that Changes Itself. I read the second one and will eventually read the other. There was one chapter about a device still undergoing testing through the lab that developed it. It's something that you put in your mouth that stimulates the tongue and sends signals to the brain. Another chapter focuses on a listening device that again has been used very effectively, particularly in children with autism. So I can now understand why they are using vision as a means to bring about neurological change.

I'm sorry that you weren't listened to for so many years. For your sake I hope you succeed with this so you can write those letters! My only experience of cognitive rehab is through my daughter who suffered a TBI last year. I can confirm her rehab unit did not use anything that would be considered cutting edge. Perhaps it will be the shape of things to come.

NightBird in reply to Lazuli

I shall pick up those Norman Doidge books - thank you.

It's strange being at the cutting edge. If this rehab works I'll definitely start advocating for it. I'm writing a book about my experiences ("But I'm Not Depressed") - it'd be simple enough to throw some advocacy in that. But let's see if it works on me.

What happened with your daughter? Did she find real help eventually?

Lazuli in reply to NightBird

Oh yes, she did. We had to push for some of it but got there in the end. She still receives some support but as time passes this has lessened. The real hard work for her is enduring whatever transpires on a day-to-day basis. The neuropysch and OT's major goal was to get my daughter back to work. She's achieved this but still experiences problems and setbacks. It is a long slow process requiring great patience.

NightBird in reply to Lazuli

I'm reading The Brain's Way Of Healing :) . It's very inspiring. The other one wasn't so relevant (I skimmed a bit), but it did portray a more hopeful reality than we are offered in general medicine.

Thank you for the recommendations.

Not sure if it's the same thing but I had eye exercises as part of my neuro physiotherapy.

I still do them daily to maintain my function.

Hard work but , in my experience, very very worthwhile.

Love n hugs


I wish i could get a switch to turn my brain of. After sitting in bed for 5 hrs and still a million and one thing's running around my head.

Found you, thank you thank you.

I don't want to repeat my post but after my assessment today I have renewed hope that I can make further improvements with their help.

I had hit a brick wall personally but they will help me push forward now.

Thank you again

Janet x

NightBird in reply to Kirk5w7

I'm so glad! I'll find your post now and have a proper read. :)


It's a good book that one of the folks at my headway group, recomended the book too me, really intresting book, have to agree with her it needed some heavy editing.

I don't seem to have eye problems in fact my vision prowess helps my balance with out vision I can't stand let alone walk.

An update: I'm seeing the neuro-optometrist on Thursday :) . I'll let you know how things go. I'm also planning some daily exercises for visual memory as part of my self-administered rehab programme. They're at Broken Brilliant - a blog worth exploring.


Off on a tangent, but I did use eye-movement memory strategies, and lateral-eye-movement mood focus tactics when I worked 1:1 with challenging young people. Today, I had an Ophthalmologist ask me "Why are you here, and not back at neuro?", to which I responded "That's because my doctor thinks he knows better than I do." (It didn't get much better than that, to be honest, he abandoned the eye pressure test, after having to have the nurse hold my head still while he poked equipment very close to the surface of my eye. Yes 'I' knew he wasn't going to poke me in the eye, but my eyelashes are simplistic, reflexive beasts, and having a man hold my eye open Clockwork Orange style, while a woman forced my head forwards into him was too much.)

I used to work with a CAMHS worker who advocated eye movement redirection therapy, but he left the service, stands to reason that if eye movement can 'trigger' and override memories, it can also be used to develop/strengthen memory?

Interesting. I've read some literature about the connection between vision, visual processing and learning. I've also read a little about EMDR used as a technique against PTSD. You probably know that PTSD symptoms overlap with brain injury symptoms, and that one can increase vulnerability to the other.

It did occur to me that EMDR may be effective for totally different reasons than it claims. Maybe thinking of traumatic events during the therapy is a total red herring, and what's really happening is the stimulation of your visual processing centres.

Speculation, but interesting.

It is interesting, I would use a combination of neuro linguistic programming and lateral eye movement techniques, to have a child anchor a positive state, or fabricate a semblance of an unproductive one, and then dismiss it. Always interesting, being 1:1 in a room on my own with the 'angriest boy in year 11', and deliberately raising his temper. Varying levels of success, I had one boy who couldn't 'imagine' at all, so had to switch to linear 'real' analogies, which he hated, because 'stories aren't real'...

Was he autistic by any chance? They can get hung up on reality...

No formal diagnosis on the analogy-boy, but 'traits' at primary school, the boy who couldn't 'imagine' was very low ability generalised MLD. They're both doing OK now.

The inability to imagine is interesting. My brain injury interfered with mine but didn't quite remove it altogether. Actual lack of visual imagination is called aphantasia. They're doing a study on it at Exeter uni.

I struggle with 'instructions' for flat-pack now, never did before, I can't 'see' the finished product until it's done.

Yes, that's me. And when I'm doing design work, everything takes five times as long because I have to create things instead of simply imagining them, or find them on the computer instead of remembering them.

I was never very 'visual' before, but now it's really difficult, to the point where today, reading the eye-chart letters, I was conscious that I was having to 'translate' the shape into the name... weird.

Perhaps you could try the visual memory exercises I suggested earlier? They look insanely difficult to me, which probably means I need them. There's an app called "Designs for Strong Minds" by Donalee Markus that also interests me. She has a particular interest in high-functioning patients.

I'll look into it, but not today, I'm correcting a terrifying number of typos, after the stress of being 'held down' today, I'm PTSD as well as brain-injured, it's not an altogether productive combination, I know there are strengths to it, but I just can't quite put my finger on them today. Thank you for being around, sometimes you're the precise sounding-board I need.

I appreciate it. You're very helpful to me too.

Must vanish, anyway - I need to run a bath :) . I hope you can relax and feel better soon.

Hi, I've just read Ghost in my brain, and then googled neuro optic rehabilitation. The second item that came up was this thread! I am on this forum, but as these are 3 years old, I thought I would ask how people got on with it? X

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