Vision Problems Caused by Traumatic Brain Injuries

Published on
February 14, 2022

Vision problems are often not the first thing people think of when they talk about traumatic brain injuries. Studies suggest that more than 2 million people in the United States who suffer traumatic brain injuries each year suffer from some sort of vision problem as a result. Traumatic brain injuries are very often accompanied by visual deficits. According to the CDC there are over 170,000 sports related TBI injuries in children per year.
A TBI is caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head as a result of rapid acceleration, deceleration, or impact. A concussion is one kind of TBI that is normally classified as a mild TBI.  

 

What kind of vision problems are caused by traumatic brain injuries?

Some of the commonly known vision problems are discussed below.

  • Accommodative disorder is a problem with focusing, particularly at near. There isn't so much a problem with eyesight as keeping a comfortable, accurate focus, particularly when working up close.
  • Focusing ability is a crucial part of eye teaming, so a person with poor eye teaming may suffer from a condition such as convergence insufficiency.
  • Those with traumatic brain injury may suffer from ocular motor deficits, such as losing their place when reading, skipping words or lines, or repeating words or lines.
  • People with traumatic brain injury may experience visual field deficits, which are less common. An individual with visual field deficit may have a missing area of vision, or they could have hemianopsia, in which they're missing the entire visual field on the left or the entire field on the right. 
  • People with traumatic brain injuries may suffer from visual neglect, which is now commonly referred to as visual spatial attention. In other words, the brain overlooks the visual area on one side or the other.
  • Midline shifts can be difficult for someone who has sustained traumatic brain injury. This is where a person’s physical midline and their visual midline are no longer aligned. 
  • An individual with traumatic brain injury may have difficulty with peripheral motion sensitivity, which can cause problems such as flicker sensitivity and glare. They may be unable to go to crowded places like stores or may have difficulty driving down the road with all the busy cars around them.

 

Who should patients consult regarding vision issues following a traumatic brain injury?

An optometrist specializing in traumatic brain injuries can help you if you are experiencing vision problems following an injury. For these conditions, neuro-optometrists are qualified to provide treatment.

 

What sort of treatment do neuro-optometrists offer?

Neuro optometrists treat patients by retraining their brain-eye connection, so that they can regain the functionality and quality of life they had prior to their injury. The treatment programs are highly customized, depending on the patient's situation and needs. Your neuro-optometrist can recommend other therapy/treatment strategies if exercises or other similar treatment methods are not sufficient to correct your vision problem.

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