Michael Schumacher latest news: Doctors wait for eye movements as they continue waking F1 legend from coma
Medics have been bringing the race ace out of a medically induced coma by slowly lowering the amount of drugs sedating him, giving his brain time to heal.
Doctors treating F1 legend Michael Schumacher will be hoping to see eye movements from the stricken race ace as they enter the third week of trying to wake him up.
Schumacher, 45, has been in a medically-induced coma since smashing his head against a hidden rock during a low-speed ski-run in the French Alps just after Christmas.
It was decided to try to ease the seven-times world champion out of his unconscious state three weeks ago, by slowly lowering the amount of drugs being used to keep him under, giving his brain time to heal.
Now the surgeons at the University of Grenoble Hospital where he was airlifted to would be anticipating eye movements and a sense that he comprehends his environment.
Dr. Luca Regli, head of neurosurgery at the University Hospital of Zurich in Switzerland, said: "This usually takes between two and four weeks.
"The second step is more complex and longer. The patient slowly begins to recognise his environment and reacts accordingly.
"This phase can take days, weeks or even months. It is different for every patient with different injuries.
He added: "In an ideal case the patient attains a minimal awareness and then completely recovers. If this second step is unsuccessful we speak of a waking coma in which the patient opens his eyes but is unaware of his environment.
"We don't yet know where Schumacher is at. That he has still not regained full consciousness is in proportion to the severity of the trauma.
"We cannot predict today the duration and the extent of the recovery. Waking up from a coma is different for everyone."
Earlier this week it was reported that doctors treating the seven-times world champion had broken off the waking-up phase but his management broke a news blackout to insist the process was still being pursued.
Dr. Regli said: "A drug-induced coma protects the nerve cells. If they are threatened in any way, recovery goes back one step. Brain injury in some patients causes seizures. The brain can recover better with medication and the patient is protected from further attacks."
Schumacher's wife Corinna, 44, and his children Gina Marie, 16, and son Mick, 14, are at his bedside for a minimum of eight hours a day, talking to him constantly.