Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain. Most are caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head.
A concussion may seem trivial, but it is actually a Brain Injury, even if it did not cause a loss of consciousness. Any brain injury can interfere with the brain’s visual pathways and can cause a disruption in the brain and eyes communicating properly. It can bring on many visual dysfunctions.
Studies show that 90% of TBI patients experience some form of vision disruption. These can bring on long-term, life-altering consequences, including blurred vision, visual field loss, and reading problems. It can cause symptoms similar to dyslexia and ADD/ADHD. It can cause difficulty in knowing where someone is in space, and that can cause dizziness, changes in posture, and difficulty with balance. Some individual then have to tilt their head or turn their head to avoid seeing double.
Some brain injuries, called Traumatic Brain Injuries are caused by motor accidents, blasts due to explosions, falls, physical abuse, or sports-related injuries. At times, what may seem to be a milt hit to the head, can bring about changes that seem to be disproportional to the injury. Some injuries may bring on a brain bleed while others may not bleed at all.
It may not cause pain. Symptoms may not appear for days or weeks.
TBIs and related visual symptoms must be taken seriously. If you sustained even a mild head injury but feel like you have a reason for concern, call us, Family Eye Care in Old Bridge, NJ. We can help determine the right course of treatment, and can prevent potential long-term damage. We can often help you get back to the person you were before the injury.
How Common Are TBIs?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 13.5 million individuals live with a disability caused by traumatic brain injury in the U.S. alone. Approximately 47% of traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls, particularly among young children, young men, and men and women over age 65. Fortunately, most TBIs (commonly called concussions), are mild.
How Does a TBI Affect Vision?
There are more areas of the brain that process vision than any other system. The brain is essentially a "vision machine". Most of the information we take in from the world around us is through our visual system, and in turn, our brain also then directs our eyes to point where we want to look, so we can take in more visual information. That is why a traumatic brain injury can often cause visual problems. Such injuries can disrupt the communication between the brain and the visual system and interfere with the processing of visual information, leading to blurred vision, reading difficulties, sensitivity to light, and double vision, among other symptoms.
Visual problems tend to be overlooked during the initial treatment of brain injury, especially with mild TBIs such as a concussion or whiplash. A regular eye exam rarely identifies the extent that the visual process has been affected since the vision complications that develop are not related to visual acuity (20/20), but rather to eye teaming, focusing, and tracking.
If you are experiencing post-concussion visual symptoms, there is always the risk that they will worsen over time. Some patients notice visual problems only while experiencing additional stress, such as illness, family or work stress, or when there is a disruption to normal routines.
A Neuro-Optometric Assessment with Dr. Roth or Dr. Tiomno of Family Eye Care in Old Bridge, can determine both the severity of the impact of a TBI on your visual system, and the treatment required for your recovery.
What Treatment Can a Neuro-Optometrist Offer?
If you’ve sustained a TBI, we, at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge, NJ, offer Neuro-Optometric Vision Rehabilitation. NOR is an individualized treatment regimen to rehabilitate the connection between the brain and the eyes and the visual system. This therapy can minimize or even eliminate TBI-related visual symptoms weeks, months, or even years after the injury.
Please call our office, Family Eye Care in Old Bridge NJ if you have any questions, or to schedule a Neuro-Optometric Assessment. We serve patients from Old Bridge, Aberdeen, East Brunswick, Manalapan, Matawan, Marlboro, Monroe, Parlin. Sayreville, South Amboy, South River, Spotswood, Lawrence Harbor, Cliffwood Beach, and throughout New Jersey.