Academic difficulty is reported in children with prolonged post-concussive symptoms. Despite growing evidence that vestibular-ocular and vision-specific dysfunction are common in children after concussion, vision is rarely mentioned in return-to-learn protocols. The purpose of this project was to evaluate a cohort of children with prolonged post-concussive symptoms to determine if vision symptoms are associated with those reporting academic difficulty.
Data were obtained from the Children’s of Alabama Concussion Clinic REDCap dataset from the period January 2007 to October 2013. From this dataset of 1033 concussion events, a cohort of 276 children aged 5 to 18 years with three or more concussion-related symptoms present for 10 days or more was identified. A cross-sectional cohort study was undertaken to evaluate the association of concussion symptoms, SCAT2 scores, and demographic and concussion severity markers to reported educational difficulty among children with prolonged post-concussive symptoms. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression techniques were used to model the association of reported educational difficulty to self-reported vision abnormalities.
Mean age was 13.8 years. Median time since the concussive event was 21 days, with 33% (95/276) reporting their concussion more than 30 days before data collection. Academic difficulty was reported by 29% (79/270) and vision abnormalities in 46% (128/274). After model reduction, vision symptoms (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.02, 4.62), hearing disturbance (OR 2.39, 95% CI 1.06, 5.36), and concentration difficulty (OR 21.62, 95% CI 9.50, 44.47) remained associated with academic difficulty. For those with symptoms 30 days or more after concussion, only vision (OR 3.15, 95% CI 1.06, 9.38) and concentration difficulty (OR 15.33, 95% CI 4.99, 47.05) remained statistically significant.
Vision problems were commonly reported in children with concussions and were independently associated with those reporting academic difficulty. Comprehensive vision assessment should be considered in children reporting academic difficulty and in the development of return-to-learn protocols.