Read on to learn more about how traumatic brain injuries can have a direct impact on the visual system.
When people talk about traumatic brain injuries, vision issues are often not the first thing that comes to mind. However, since studies show that the majority of the more than 2 million people who suffer traumatic brain injuries in the United States each year experience some sort of vision problem as a result.
It’s important to know what sort of problems can arise, so that if any does, it can be quickly spotted and treated.
The first step to being able to treat a problem is to properly spot and diagnose it. Once you notice a potential problem, the next step will be getting a comprehensive eye exam. As opposed to simple vision tests, comprehensive eye exams check the health of the eye overall, and the important vision skills which injuries may be impacting.
Neuro-optometrists will also perform a neuro-visual assessment to best pinpoint the exact conditions present.
There are several problems which can arise, at different stages of the recovery process from the initial injury. Because of the nature of brain injuries, the vision issues can occur in the areas of eye movement, eye teaming (their ability to work together properly), the ability of the eyes to properly focus, or a decreased visual field (this is when a patient loses some measure of sight in a certain area, such as the sides). Of course, visual acuity loss is also possible (this is when there is difficulty seeing either near or far objects--the sort of common issues typically corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
While on one hand it’s obvious how problems like blurry or double vision can impact daily life, it is worth understanding just how many important tasks can become more difficult. Some impacts can include:
A patient with a vision problem stemming from a traumatic brain injury may also experience discomfort in certain environments, such as places where there is bright light or a lot of glare, or places with a high volume of patterns or motion, due to visual overload.
These vision problems can also cause discomfort or pain on a regular basis, ranging from eye pain to excessive tearing to motion sickness, in addition to negatively impacting balance.
If you are experiencing vision problems following a traumatic brain injury, consult with an optometrist who specializes. Specifically, neuro-optometrists in particular are equipped to provide the proper treatment for these conditions.
Neuro optometrists provide treatment that helps the patients retrain their brain-eye connection so that they regain the functionality, and quality of life, that they had prior to their injury. These treatment programs are highly personalized, based on the situation and the needs of the individual patient.
In the event that exercises or other similar treatment methods are not enough to completely correct the problem, your neuro-optometrist can recommend vision assistance devices or other therapy/treatment strategies.