Pure Alexia


Pure Alexia, also known as pure word blindness, is a rare neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to recognize and comprehend written words, despite having intact reading skills in the past. It is caused by damage or disruption to the brain’s visual processing areas, particularly the left hemisphere, where the language centers are typically located.


  • Agnosia: Individuals with pure alexia experience agnosia, which is the inability to recognize or identify visual stimuli. They may struggle to distinguish individual letters, words, or even whole sentences.
  • Decoding Difficulties: Pure alexics often have difficulty decoding or sounding out unfamiliar words. They may rely more on context cues, such as sentence structure or surrounding words, to understand the meaning of a sentence.
  • Reading Strategy Alterations: People with pure alexia may employ compensatory strategies like letter-by-letter reading or using their finger to track the text. These strategies assist in bypassing the visual processing deficit and facilitating word recognition.
  • Visual Field Deficit: Patients may experience a visual field deficit called hemianopia or hemispatial neglect. This means they have reduced or no vision in either the left or right portion of their visual field, further complicating their reading ability.
  • Sparing of Other Language Skills: Despite the impairment in reading, individuals with pure alexia typically retain their other language skills, such as speaking, listening, and comprehension of spoken language.


There is no specific cure for pure alexia. However, individuals can benefit from rehabilitation techniques and strategies to assist in improving reading abilities. These may include vision therapy, phonics-based reading programs, multisensory techniques, and practicing reading in a structured and supportive environment.

It is important for individuals with pure alexia to receive proper support and accommodations to help them overcome the challenges in their daily lives and continue to engage in activities involving reading and written language.