Traumatic brain injuries can occur as the result of a blow or violent jolt to the head or body. They can also result from a penetrating injury, such as a gunshot wound, or a non-penetrating injury, such as being struck in the head in an automobile accident. What most people don’t realize is that along with the primary injury comes a host of visual disturbances that are often left untreated.

How does a brain injury impact vision?

According to studies, 90% of all traumatic brain injury patients suffer from visual impairment. Some examples of visual disturbances following a traumatic brain injury included blurred or double vision, difficulty focusing, difficulty reading or following a moving object, a feeling of being overwhelmed in crowded places or with fast moving objects in your peripheral vision, problems with balance, feeling dizzy, sensitivity to light, ocular migraines, and eye pain.

How is the treatment of a child with traumatic brain injury different from that of an elderly person?

The treatment of a brain injury in a child may differ from that of an older individual. Oftentimes, it is determined by what the present conditions are. A person's treatment length may depend on the severity of their injury, the length of time that the injury has been occurring, their past experiences, and any underlying conditions.

What is the treatment plan for a patient with visual dysfunctions following a brain injury?

A person with visual disturbances following a brain injury will first undergo a thorough neuro optometric evaluation that assesses the patient's vision, history, and symptoms. The therapeutic approach begins with the prescription of customized prism lense that will enable them to try and restore balance to their system. In the beginning of treatment, the patient is guided on the lifestyle and behavioral modifications that will assist with their visual conditions and help them adapt to the prism glasses. Additionally, if a patient is currently receiving therapy elsewhere, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy, the neuro optometrist will work with those professionals to coordinate visually directed treatments with the full care team.

The patient will be scheduled for a follow up after the adjustment period to assess the patient's response to the lenses and their visual condition. It is normal for patients who have been prescribed optical prisms and training for adaptation to their new lenses to still have persistent visual disturbances. In many cases after their follow up evaluation, Dr. Ikeda will prescribe vision therapy, vision therapy is customized rehabilitation of visual / perceptual / motor disorders.

Therapy is done in our office with our certified optometric vision therapist combined with daily home activities. While the length of therapy differs greatly for each patient based on their condition and efforts, patients should notice improvement after a few weeks of therapy. In many cases therapy is a life changing undertaking for the patients and their families.

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