Read-Right Hemianopic Alexia Therapy

UCL Institute of Neurology | UCL Multimedia

About Read-Right
What is Read-Right?

Read-Right is a therapy and research application accessed over the internet. It has been developed by UCL Institute of Neurology and UCL Multimedia. The project is funded by The Stroke Association. The aims of the project are twofold: 1) to provide a web-based therapy for patients with hemianopic alexia (HA); 2) to find out if the therapy works over the internet. To do this, we need to collect information from users to see if they are improving with practice.

What is hemianopic alexia (HA)?

  • HA is a condition caused by focal brain damage, usually a stroke that occurs in adult life. This damages a person’s vision relating to one half of the visual world (a hemianopia). Other causes include head injury and brain tumours.
  • For readers of English text (left-to-right readers) the hemianopia is usually on the right side.
  • In order to read, you have to move your eyes along a line of text three to four times per second. To do this efficiently, you make use of the visual information to the right of where you are looking. Patients with HA are deprived of much of this information and make many extra eye-movements. This slows them down.
  • HA is different from developmental dyslexia (often called just “dyslexia”). People with dyslexia have never learnt to read completely normally. Patients with HA read more slowly than before, because of the brain injury that has damaged their vision.

Why do people with HA read slowly?

  • You read along a line of text by planning a series of eye movements which allows your eyes to jump from one word to another.
  • You make use of visual information to the right of the word that you are currently looking at to help plan your reading eye movements.
  • People with HA are robbed of this information and compensate by making very inefficient reading eye movements, this causes them to read accurately but slowly.
  • Some patients abandon reading altogether, or lose their jobs because they cannot read fast enough.

Why does practising reading moving text improve reading speeds on normal text?

  • This is still not fully understood.
  • Studies have shown that the type of eye movement made when a person reads moving text (an involuntary eye movement) may help influence subsequent voluntary eye movements as the brain regions that make both types of movement overlap to some degree. To see a video of the eye movements induced by Read-Right therapy (scrolling text), click here.
  • A paper by Dr Alex Leff detailing the research behind Read-Right, and how moving text can be used to improve text reading in patients with Hemianopic Alexia, has been published in the scientific journal Neurology. The article can be viewed by visiting the following link:
    Hemianopic Alexia research paper published in Neurology

Does Read-Right work?

Three peer-reviewed papers have been published on the data collected from people using Read-Right.

One confirms the validity of the online visual field test and has been published in The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Neuropsychiatry:
A ‘web app’ for diagnosing hemianopia

And has an accompanying editorial on 'internet teleneurology':
Internet teleneurology

The second is on the effectiveness of Read-Right. Patients' reading speeds improved by 39%, on average, after 15 hours of cumulative practice. It has been published in The Journal of Neurology:
Read-Right: a “web app” that improves reading speeds in patients with hemianopia

The third has been published in BMJ Innovations:
Web-based therapy for hemianopic alexia is syndrome-specific