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Sight Science

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 20:05 UK time, Monday, 30 May 2011

Retired shop owner, Madhukant Amin pinned all his hopes on a revolutionary technique after a stroke lead to him losing part of his sight.

But thousands of pounds later and after months of effort, he’s no closer to regaining his driving licence.

Madhukant described what happened when he had a stroke during a visit to family in Indian last year, “They took me to hospital, there was no movement on the left hand side. At the end of the day I found out I had lost my vision”.

Madhukant Amin

Madhukant Amin

When he returned home to Wales, Madhukant realised life would never be the same again.

He told Rachel Treadaway-Williams, “My vision at the moment is like a tunnel, you know, everything I have to see I have to keep on moving my head, you can just see straight and that's it”.

Around 7,000 stroke patients a year in Wales will experience problems with their vision and often one of their biggest concerns is the fact they can no longer drive.

Madhukant described how he felt, “I was losing my temper all the time. The worst effect was that I was house bound 24 hours a day”.

So he turned to the internet and researched a company called Sight Science, which claimed to help people regain their sight after a stroke. It was going to cost him £2,500 but as Madhukant said, “I was very desperate I didn't care about how much it was going to cost me”.

Sight Science asks patients to sit at a computer and respond to patterns on the screen which they say stimulate the injured area of the brain. It looked like the miracle he needed. 

But unfortunately Madhukant’s vision didn’t get any better. After months of following the Sight Science regime, he hadn’t experienced any improvement.

And three months later an eye test confirmed his suspicions. His optician had to break the news – that Madhukant hadn't regained his sight sufficiently to be able to drive.

So Sight Science offered him a further six months treatment for an additional £1,500. Madhukant turned them down, “I lost confidence in them said I don't want any more of your treatment”.

Sight Science claims around three quarters of people who've undergone its therapy have reported improvements in their abilities to manage day to day activities, and 10 per cent regained their driving licences.

And they say although they can never guarantee the extent of recovery, they insist their clinical data shows Madhukant's visual field has indeed improved.

We showed Madhukant’s results to Doctor Charlotte Lawthom, one of Wales' leading consultant neurologists. She told Rachel: “He's now picking up some visual things that perhaps he couldn't before.

“From a practical point of view that doesn't translate into anything terribly meaningful for him and certainly won't have any bearing on the driving restrictions. I would not have recommended him to go ahead and pay for this treatment”.

And we asked her what she thought about their offer of a further six months treatment for £1,500, “I think ethically that is questionable really. If there has been no improvement at six months there is no reason to think they're going to have a late improvement”.

With little chance of regaining full sight, Madhukant is resigned to the fact he may never get behind the wheel again.

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