Do You Know How Traumatic Brain Injury Can Affect Your Vision?

A traumatic brain injury is caused by some type of trauma to the brain, be it an accident or a medical episode, such as a stroke. There is a close link between these types of injuries and vision issues. When going through rehabilitation after a traumatic brain injury, the effects on your vision must not be overlooked.


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While the link between traumatic brain injury and vision problems is, unfortunately, overlooked too often, such injuries can lead to several noticeable vision problems. These problems are caused by the injury disrupting the communication between the eyes and brain.

In fact, more than 90% of the 2.8 million Americans who suffer a traumatic brain injury every year will experience some form of visual dysfunction, though at times those problems won’t manifest immediately after the injury, making them harder to spot.


How are Vision Problems Diagnosed Following a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Vision problems following a traumatic brain injury can be diagnosed by your optometrist or ophthalmologist, following a comprehensive eye exam. If one of your other healthcare providers notices an issue, they may refer you for the exam and treatment.

How are Vision Problems Diagnosed Following a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Vision Problems Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

Vision Problems Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

Someone with a vision problem stemming from a traumatic brain injury may not be aware that they are indeed suffering from a problem caused by their injury. However, there are several signs to watch for that can indicate a problem.

Blurred Vision: This can be constant or intermittent blurriness, and can extend to having difficulty focusing on objects. 

Double Vision: This is caused by a deficiency in eye teaming, their ability to work together. Double vision can range in severity.

Decreased Peripheral Vision: An issue also termed visual field loss, this can entail either a partial or complete loss of peripheral vision. Someone suffering from this problem may find themself bumping into objects, being struck by things they couldn’t see, or falling often

Difficulty Focusing the Eyes or Controlling Eye Movement: Brain injury can impact the ability to properly control eye movement and focusing. This can lead to a number of problems, from fatigue to eye strain to increased difficulty performing tasks which require precise eye movement.


Vision Problems Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

Loss of Vision in One or Both Eyes: Vision loss due to brain injury can be partial or complete, and may or may not be reversible.

Eye Strain: If there is a mechanical problem with eye function due to injury, the patient may experience eye strain which can cause headaches and make it harder to focus on tasks.

Sensitivity to Light: Also known as photophobia, this condition renders one extra sensitive to light. In particular, the condition can be at its worst when looking at light sources such as fluorescent lights, bright sunlight, and LCD screens.

Difficulty Focusing on Tasks: If the eyes aren’t functioning properly, it can become difficult for the patient to remain focused on tasks for extended periods of time.

Motion Sensitivity: The damage to the eyes and brain can impact how the body processes motion. This can lead to issues like vertigo or feeling of discomfort while doing things like scrolling on a digital device, traveling, or performing activities in busy environments.

Visual Memory Loss: Visual memory loss is when the patient loses some of their ability to remember visual information which is stored in either the long or short-term visual memory. This can lead to decreased reading comprehension, and difficulty recalling words, numbers, where an object was left, or other previously viewed data. 

Headaches or Eye Pain: This can come in the form of a range of headaches or a stabbing pain around the eyes. Often accompanied by redness, itching, or burning of the eyes.

What Can Be Done to Help?

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation has been shown to be very effective in helping patients recover from vision problems caused by traumatic brain injuries. Optometrists who specialize in this field are trained to properly diagnose, treat, and oversee rehabilitation from neurological conditions which affect the visual system. 

Following an evaluation to determine the precise nature of your issues, the optometrist will formulate a personalized treatment program designed to alleviate the problems and help restore your quality of life to what it was prior to the injury. The treatments help retrain your visual system to overcome the problems caused by the injury.

How are Vision Problems Diagnosed Following a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Dr. McBryar cartoon


Vision issues are a common occurrence following a traumatic brain injury, coming in numerous forms, and these issues can have a major impact on daily life. If you are experiencing a vision issue following a traumatic brain injury, contact us to schedule an evaluation.


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Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
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