Vision Problems frequently occur after a concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or Acquired Brain Injury such as a stroke because there is often interruption in communication between the eyes and the brain. At least half of those with TBI (car crash, sports injury, etc.) suffer from visual dysfunctions. Common symptoms include blurred vision, sensitivity to light, reading difficulty, headaches with visual tasks, and difficulties with eye movements.
These visual problems are often overlooked during initial evaluation of a concussion. Some of the symptoms may not happen for days or weeks. Click this link to find out about Common Vision Problems and about Vision Rehabilitation in a joint statement by The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association and the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Following a concussion, some common symptom include double vision, blurred vision, or difficulty reading. A regular eye exam often doesn’t reveal the extent that the visual process is affected from a concussive injury. A regular exam might look for eye health issues or eyeglass issues but may not include how visual information is being processed. Vision occurs in the brain rather than in the eyes. An individual may have Post Trauma Vision Syndrome (PTVS), a condition where more extensive visual processes in the brain may be affected.
PTVS may impact one or more specific areas of visual function, so the effects can be varied. PTVS can affect a person’s ability to read, comprehend, and sustain attention. It can also cause dizziness/vertigo and headaches/migraines as well as cause difficulties with tracking moving objects and making stationary objects appear to move. Some concussion symptoms may only last a short period of time, while others can linger for months or even years, and it is then termed Post-Concussion Syndrome. That may adversely affect the way a person functions in their activities of daily living. If someone has changes in vision following a concussion, especially blurred or double vision, it is important not to ignore the symptoms. Early diagnosis leads to appropriate treatment and/or referral to a specialist.
Following a concussion or any brain injury, someone may benefit by treatment from various professionals and one type of rehabilitation may not be enough to address all of a patient’s needs. An integrated team approach can play a vital role in rehabilitation of concussion patients. The rehabilitation team may include neurologists, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, neuropsychologists, audiologists, Neuro-Optometrists, and others.
Both Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association and the Concussion Legacy Foundation offer resources to help patients and caregivers find the help they need following a concussion. Concussion Clinics is a free online tool provided by the Concussion Legacy Foundation that is designed to connect patients with local medical providers and clinics that treat concussions. CLF’s Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) Resources are an online tool for patients and families experiencing lingering symptoms after a concussion. Common Vision Problems & Symptoms Following a Concussion can be viewed and downloaded on NORA’s Patient Caregivers Resource page and CLF’s Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) Resources page.