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Jessy Dorn, Duane Geruschat, Fatima Anaflous, Robert Greenberg; Developing a Rehabilitation Curriculum for Argus® II System Users. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):1052.
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The purpose of this work was to develop an instructional curriculum for Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System patients who have undergone successful implantation of the system in a commercial setting. In the clinical trial that supported approval of Argus II for commercial use in Europe, variability in functional outcomes was observed between subjects. Some of this variability was attributed to differences in subjects’ ability to integrate the input of the technology into their lives. We developed an instructional curriculum specifically designed to teach patients the foundational skills that are required to maximize the benefits of the Argus II technology.
During the clinical trial, we evaluated Argus II subjects’ functional vision with and without the system in real-world tasks. Based upon these experiences, we identified critical skills needed to successfully integrate the Argus II into users’ everyday lives within the context of the foundational blindness skills they already possess. Some of these skills are similar to other low vision rehabilitation techniques and some are unique to prosthetic vision. We then developed a curriculum and instructional kit to teach these skills and techniques to new patients.
These experiences resulted in a curriculum that serves as a guide for the therapists who are providing the rehabilitation services and an instructional kit that provides standardized training tools. The curriculum follows commonly accepted low vision rehabilitation principles of visual skill acquisition by isolating skills, using materials that are designed to support the development of these skills, and finally strategies for implementing the technology into the homes and lifestyles of the patient. For example, patients and caregivers will learn the importance of illumination and contrast, how and why to modify the home environment to maximize visibility, how to effectively use the Argus II System’s different image processing filters for different environments, and what types of activities can be practiced at home.
The purpose of this work is to support patients so they can maximize the benefit of the Argus II System. We believe that applying standard low vision rehabilitation principles to the development of visual skills with the Argus II System will offer the best opportunity for patients to optimize the benefits from this technology.
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