Traumatic Brain Injuries and Vision

Published on
March 3, 2022

Despite the name, traumatic brain injuries do not usually occur in instances many of us would consider traumatic, studies show that 50% of concussions go undiagnosed or unreported. One of the most common symptoms to look out for after a fall, sports injury, car accident, or any other injury to the brain are visual symptoms. Studies show that 90 percent of traumatic brain injuries are accompanied by vision problems. Patients with a traumatic brain injury are likely to have visual deficits since visual pathways are present in every part of the brain. A patient with a mild traumatic brain injury can still experience significant or excessive visual symptoms.

 

What are the causes of vision problems following a traumatic brain injury?

  • Eye Damage - The eye itself can be damaged by a head injury, and eye conditions such as cataracts that were present before the injury may be aggravated. You might have trouble changing focus between near and far objects if your eye muscles are damaged and not working properly. It can be difficult to control eye movement if the muscles or the nerves controlling them are damaged, or if there is a hairline fracture in the eye socket.
  • Brain Damage - The brain itself may also be damaged by traumatic brain injuries, affecting the "wiring" of the brain. Many brain functions, including vision, may be affected.
  • Damage to the Brain-Eye Connection - If the connection between the eyes and the brain isn't working properly, vision problems will result even if the eyes and brain are both working properly on their own. Damage to this connection can also cause decreased visual memory (the ability to recall items like passwords) and decreased visual field (being unable to see to the sides or above and below).

 

What vision problems can occur following a traumatic brain injury?

Following are some of the vision symptoms that occur following a traumatic brain injury:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye strain, 
  • Losing place when reading
  • Balance issues or Vertigo
  • Double vision 
  • Having trouble driving
  • Feeling Dizzy 
  • Headaches
  • Cars or people moving around in the side of your vision may cause motion sickness
  • There is difficulty going to crowded environments
  • Problems with glare or light sensitivity

What is the best way to treat vision problems caused by traumatic brain injuries?

Those experiencing vision issues following a traumatic brain injury should be seen by a neuro optometrist who are experienced in treating vision issues resulting from brain injuries. Your neuro-optometrist will devise a customized treatment plan for your condition based on an evaluation of your condition. This treatment, also called neuro optometric rehabilitation may include vision therapy exercises, prism lenses, light therapy and vision aids. A person's recovery time and treatment will differ from case to case.

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