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Hemianopia and visual neglect: a question of balance?
  1. Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford OX1 4XD, UK. Telephone 0044 1865 790 363 or 240 321; fax 0044 1865 200185;

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    Visual neglect and visual field deficits commonly co-occur after unilateral brain damage such as stroke. The conditions, however, are recognised as operationally and conceptually distinct.

    A visual field defect describes sensory loss restricted to the visual field and arises from damage to the primary visual pathways linking optic tract and striate cortex. Patients with visual neglect fail to orient or attend predominately to contralesional space and this is thought to result from disorders involving various different attentional systems. Visual field assessment typically employs confrontation and requires fixation whereas visual neglect is normally assessed in free vision and typically equires a manual response.

    Although, it is possible to confound visual field defects and visual neglect,1 it is generally accepted that the conditions represent functionally unrelated disorders that differ in terms …

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