Binasal occlusion is a technique used in neuro-optometric rehabilitation to reduce strain on the visual system, which can improve your gait and balance.
In the United States, an estimated 1.5 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Over 50,000 people die from these injuries each year, 230,000 people are hospitalized and survive, and about 80,000-90,000 people experience long-term disabilities. According to the Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association 90% of TBI and stroke patients experience visual deficits following their injury.
When a person suffers a traumatic brain injury, the brain's visual pathways can be disrupted. When nerve fibers within the brainstem are disrupted, the balance system and orientation systems are adversely affected. The experience of walking in unfamiliar environments or crowded areas, such as malls, can be overwhelming. The purpose of the binasal occlusion is to help with spatial orientation. Many patients have benefited from this treatment. When individuals walk using binasal occlusion, they report feeling more stable and secure. As a result of binasal occlusion, the patient is encouraged to rely more on their peripheral vision.
Typically, it is recommended to wear binasal occlusion for 2 weeks up to 6 months depending on the patient’s condition. Remember that neuro optometric rehabilitation is tailored to every patient. With the introduction of other therapies and improvement of spatial orientation, the importance of occlusion decreases. In many cases, it is recommended to utilize this treatment several hours a day, and in some cases, the patient is encouraged to wear it the vast majority of the time. Our neuro optometrist will assess your condition and determine the appropriate duration for wearing binasal occlusion. Binasal prescriptions may be worn both for reading and for distance vision.
Binasal occlusion can enhance the effectiveness of occupational and physical therapy programs when prescribed by a qualified neuro optometrist.
An important benefit of binasal occlusion is that you are able to walk with a sense of increased visual stability. If you have trouble walking comfortably and do not have a steady gait, binasal occlusion may be of benefit to you. With binasal occlusion, patients often report that the floor is no longer moving, so they feel better. The use of yoked prisms or base in prisms can be combined with binasal occlusion in some cases to improve balance.
Binasal occlusion, under the guidance of a neuro optometrist, may be used to improve the following visual conditions:
It's important to note that binasal occlusion may not be appropriate for all individuals with these conditions and should be done under the guidance of our qualified neuro optometrist. Additionally, binasal occlusion is typically only one component of a larger treatment plan that may include vision therapy, specialized lenses and prisms, and other therapies.
Several methods can be used to apply binasal occlusion as part of neuro optometric rehabilitation:
Sticker or patch: A small sticker or patch can be placed on the nose bridge of eyeglasses to block the nasal portion of the visual field.
Glasses with occlusion lenses: Glasses can be made with lenses that have one or both sides covered or partially covered to achieve the occlusion.
Tape: Some individuals may choose to apply tape directly to their skin to achieve binasal occlusion, though this method is less common and not recommended without the guidance of our qualified eye care professional.
The method of application will depend on the individual's specific needs and the recommendation of our eye doctor or vision therapist.
If you don’t already have a trusted optometrist, you could start your online search by typing in phrases such as "eye doctor near me," "neuro optometrist near me," or "eye specialist near me."
Binasal occlusion, as part of neuro-optometric rehabilitation, might be beneficial if you have experienced a traumatic brain injury and have difficulty walking, maintaining proper balance, being in a crowded environment, or if you suffer from any of the visual conditions listed above. You can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit to schedule a neuro optometric evaluation. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.