Background: Oculomotor dysfunctions are among the most common abnormalities found in the brain-injured population. The purpose of the current study was to determine retrospectively the effectiveness of conventional optometric vision therapy for oculomotor disorders of vergence and version in a sample of ambulatory, visually symptomatic, predominantly adult outpatients who had either mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) or cerebrovascular accident (CVA).
Methods: A computer-based query for acquired brain injury patients examined between the years of 2000 and 2003 was conducted in our clinic. This yielded 160 individuals with mild TBI and 60 with CVA. Of these patients, only those for whom vision therapy was prescribed and who completed an optometric vision therapy program for remediation of their oculomotor dysfunctions were selected. This included 33 with TBI and 7 with CVA. The criterion for treatment success was denoted by marked/total improvement in at least 1 primary symptom and at least 1 primary sign.
Results: Ninety percent of those with TBI and 100% of those with CVA were deemed to have treatment success. These improvements remained stable at retesting 2 to 3 months later.
Conclusion: Nearly all patients in the current clinic sample exhibited either complete or marked reduction in their oculomotor-based symptoms and improvement in related clinical signs, with maintenance of the symptom reduction and sign improvements at the 2- to 3-month follow-up. These findings show the efficacy of optometric vision therapy for a range of oculomotor abnormalities in the primarily adult, mild brain-injured population. Furthermore, it shows considerable residual neural plasticity despite the presence of documented brain injury.