Common Vision Problems Caused by Traumatic Brain Injuries

Published on
February 21, 2022

 

Many people understand what traumatic brain injuries are, even if they don't know it by that term. These injuries are caused by some type of trauma to the brain, whether it be from an accident or a stroke. Common causes of a traumatic brain injury include sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, strokes, whiplash, being struck by a hard object, and falls. Most people are not aware that these types of injuries are closely related to vision problems. In fact some studies show that 90% of people who had a traumatic brain injury had vision problems resulting from the injury. It is sometimes difficult for people with traumatic brain injuries to describe the symptoms they are experiencing, or they worry the doctor will think they are exaggerating.

 

What are the common vision problems following a traumatic brain injury?

 

Ocular motility 

Ocular motility refers to the ability to move the eyes from one place to another as precisely as possible. It is necessary for reading. Those who suffer a traumatic brain injury may experience abnormal eye alignment or difficulty controlling their eye movements 

Dysfunction in the accommodative system

Normally your focusing muscle would contract when you looked up close and would be very relaxed if you look far away. Dysfunction in the accommodative system means you have difficulty with your focusing system.

Binocular vision dysfunction

People with binocular vision dysfunction have trouble using their eyes as a team. When the target is moved up close, the eyes will become convergent and when it is moved further away, the eyes are going to become divergent.

Central peripheral integration

Many of these patients may experience difficulty with motion sensitivity, so they do not do well in environments where things are moving around in their peripheral vision. An example of this is driving in a car and seeing trees or other cars moving in the side of their vision, which can be very unpleasant for someone who had a traumatic brain injury.

Double vision

They may have difficulty aligning their eyes horizontally, which can lead to blurry or double vision, especially when they are concentrating on close-up tasks. Severe double vision does not always occur, and some people just get exhausted really fast or feel a pulling sensation around their eyes when they try to do near work such as reading.

Difficulty reading

Patients have trouble making accurate eye movements when reading. After traumatic brain injuries, saccadic eye movements may become less accurate, causing them to skip lines or lose their place when reading.

 

What can be done to help?

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation has been demonstrated to be particularly effective in treating patients with vision problems resulting from traumatic brain injuries. A neuro optometrist who specializes in this field can correctly diagnose, treat, and supervise rehabilitation for neurological conditions that affect the visual system. 

Upon evaluating the nature of your conditions, the neuro optometrist will formulate a treatment plan to alleviate the problems and help restore your quality of life to what it was before the injury. Through the treatments, your visual system is retrained to overcome the damage caused by the injury.

Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation utilizes different treatment modalities to overcome the visual deficits incurred by a traumatic brain injury, these may include: 

  • Prism glasses 
  • Vision therapy 
  • Syntonic light therapy

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