Hemispatial Inattention

A Reading Assessment and Training Program for Hemispatial Inattention Using Eye Tracking

Overview: Hemispatial Inattention and Neglect Dyslexia Hemispatial inattention (HSI) is a common condition after right brain stroke1 in which an individual disregards sensory information and will often fail to act upon objects in their contralesional left side. This disregard, often called "neglect" in more severe cases, varies greatly in presentation. The majority of individuals with HSI have had lesions in their right temporoparietal area, thus causing leftward neglect.

In collaboration with an occupational therapist who sees patients with HSI, we have created a system that uses a desktop or tablet PC with an eye tracker and our custom background software that uses information about where the eye (or cursor depending on the tracking technology) is positioned on screen. The reader sits a comfortable distance from the device and is free to make head movements within reason. As the reader reads text presented on the screen, the program analyzes their eye/cursor position, monitors their success making a saccade to the left margin of the next line, and provides instantaneous visual and/or auditory feedback to the user to shape reading behaviors over time. The device can be set up as a stationary unit, perhaps in a rehabilitation hospital, or as a mobile unit to be set up wherever the user wants. Our current version is built in the Tobii EyeX engine framework, but is amenable to a variety of eye tracking technologies.

Figure 1. - Text interface for reading intervention module

We believe that this interactive program has the potential to change the current measurement paradigm of HSI and provides opportunities for new rehabilitation interventions to treat this condition.