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Q & A: About Brain Injury and Vision

What exactly is a brain injury?

Traumatic Brain Injury or Acquired Brain Injury is an insult to the brain, whether from physical injury to the head, stroke, or neurological dysfunction. This insult may impair your cognitive, sensory or physical faculties, which most are treated by rehabilitation.

These visual problems can be successfully managed and treated through a special type of Vision Therapy called Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation by Dr. Roth.

What are signs of a brain injury?

People with a brain injury frequently report visual problems such as seeing words in print run together, have intermittent blurring when reading, and objects that are known to be stationary seem to be moving. The floor may appear tilted and they may have significant difficulties with balance and spatial orientation when in crowded moving environments.

It is common that people who have these problems are told by their eye doctor (optometrists and ophthalmologists) that their problems are not in their eyes and that their eyes are healthy. The reason for this is that vision is actually based in the brain and not in the eyes. This is why the brain injury is causing all of these vision problems.

Light sensitivity and general inability to tolerate normal glare is also a common symptom. The brain is not able to adjust to various levels of brightness. It is as if one had a radio and the volume control was broken and could not make the adjustments you normally do to control loudness.

Many of these vision problems are solved through a program of vision therapy that enables the individual regain skills that were damaged.

Does a brain injury affect one’s ability to read?

Yes. When someone suffers a brain injury, it affects the speed of eye movements when reading and the ability to absorb the information read. The ReadAlyzer is a highly sophisticated eye tracking instrument that measures eye movements while reading, such as his the number of words read per minute and the efficiency of reading.

You can view a thorough presentation by Dr. Roth on Concussion & Brain Injury. The 2 part series can be found here.