Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome

Published on
February 24, 2022

A common diagnosis for someone who suffers a traumatic brain injury is post traumatic vision syndrome, commonly abbreviated as PTVS.

What symptoms might I experience from post traumatic vision syndrome?

Post traumatic vision syndrome is most commonly characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Ocular motor dysfunction: Ocular motor dysfunction includes difficulties with fixation, which is the ability for the eyes to remain steady on a single point. Saccadic eye movements, which is the eye's ability to move from one visual target to another. And pursuits, which is the ability of the eyes to track a moving object. This condition disrupts everyday activities such as reading, so receiving a comprehensive eye exam is essential to check for it.
  • Accommodative dysfunction: An inability to move from near to far or far to near without losing focus.
  • Binocular vision dysfunction: Inability to move the eyes together as a team. When the eyes lack alignment vision may be impaired or maintaining proper alignment may be achieved with considerable effort.
  • Headaches: PTVS causes headaches that may be triggered by screens, reading, and just about any environment with excessive visual stimulation.
  • Double vision: When your eyes do not work together, you can see what each eye sees separately (instead of the brain properly combining the two images), resulting in blurry or double vision.
  • Eye strain: When the vision system is not functioning properly, it requires more effort to see, which causes eye strain and fatigue. There may also be pain in the eyes.
  • Lots of sensitivity to glare and flicker: Damage to the visual system may reduce the brain's ability to process incoming sensory information, leading to greater sensitivity to light.
  • Excessive brain fog: Lack of focus, memory loss and confusion are signs of excessive brain fog that results from delayed visual memory/processing.

How is post traumatic vision syndrome treated?

A neuro-optometric rehabilitation program can help treat post traumatic vision syndrome. Other treatment options may include specialized prescription lenses such as prism lenses, neuro-rehabilitation therapy or vision therapy, and syntonic light therapy.

How long does treatment take?

Treatment can last anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year, depending on the patient's needs. Also, the degree of success in correcting the problem will depend on the severity of the injuries. Since every patient's visual symptoms and dysfunctions are different, the treatment plan is tailored to each patient's symptoms, diagnosis, and progress. While treatment may last a while, patients should see improvements within a few weeks of treatment. 

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