According to research, 90% of traumatic brain injuries cause visual dysfunctions.
An acquired brain injury is essentially an event or condition that has affected one’s brain after birth. Meaning it’s not a condition that results from a birth trauma, nor is it genetic or degenerative. An acquired brain injury could be a traumatic brain injury, caused by an external force such as a motor vehicle accident, a bad fall or a sports injury. An acquired brain injury could also be a non-traumatic brain injury, often resulting from a disease, such as in the case of a stroke, lack of oxygen or a tumor, just to name a few.
A neuro-optometrist is trained to work with people who have suffered from visual issues resulting from an acquired brain injury. A routine eye exam does not necessarily pick up on certain visual impairments caused by a brain injury, whereas an evaluation with a neuro-optometrist will diagnose the impact a brain injury has had on the person’s visual system, even if visual symptoms have not yet surfaced or been noticed by the patient.
Following the diagnosis, a neuro-optometric rehabilitation treatment plan will be customized for each patient’s needs. The goal of this treatment is to fix the underlying problems caused by the acquired brain injury, namely to retrain the neurological connections in the brain in order to properly communicate with both eyes which then allows for optimal visual function.
Symptoms will not always appear right after the acquired brain injury, however the visual impact can be diagnosed by a neuro-optometrist even before symptoms appear and therefore it’s recommended to schedule an appointment as soon as possible, following the brain injury.
Each person requiring treatment for vision problems resulting from acquired brain injury is a unique case and receives a customized treatment plan that is optimal for his or her visual challenges and demands. There are various methods of treatment which can be used on its own or combined to yield the best results:
All of the above approaches work on fixing the underlying problem which is a neurological disruption in the communication between both eyes and the brain due to an acquired brain injury. In extreme cases eye muscle surgery may be recommended, however it is important to note that this method does not treat the underlying issues.