Vision Problems After Traumatic Brain Injuries

Man experiencing dizziness with head trauma

Experiencing Vision Problems After a Traumatic Brain Injury? Vision Therapy May Relieve Your Symptoms

Headaches, nausea, confusion, and difficulty concentrating aren't the only long-lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Vision problems can also occur after head trauma. Fortunately, vision therapy offers an effective way to relieve TBI vision symptoms.

A TBI Can Cause These Vision Problems

Vision issues are particularly common following a brain injury. In fact, 90 percent of people who've had a TBI develop problems with their vision after a brain injury, according to the American Optometric Association. Even a mild TBI can injure the parts of your brain that control visual perception, processing, memory, and input.

After a concussion or another TBI, you may be more likely to experience these vision problems:

  • Light Sensitivity. Sensitivity to bright sunlight, fluorescent lights, and blue light produced by digital devices and televisions is a common complaint after a TBI. Glare may also be a problem.
  • Eye Teaming Problems. A TBI can make it difficult for your eyes to work together as a team. An eye teaming issue may cause blurry or double vision, nausea, vomiting, headaches, balance issues, eyestrain, and difficulty reading.
  • Changes in Eye Movements. Your eyes may not move quite as smoothly as they did before your injury. The problem can make it difficult to read or track moving objects with your eyes. It can also cause eye fatigue, poor coordination, and dizziness.
  • Focusing Difficulties. Your eyes must turn inward slightly when you focus on close objects or the words on a page. Unfortunately, after a TBI, you may develop convergence insufficiency, a problem that affects the eyes' ability to turn inward to the same degree. Symptoms can include double vision, blurry vision, headache, losing your place when you read, trouble concentrating, or difficulty remembering what you've read.
  • Decreased Visual Field. A TBI could decrease your visual field and make it difficult to see objects at the edges of your vision. This can make driving difficult and lead to falls.
  • Other Problems. TBIs can also cause eye strain, poor depth perception, balance problems, slow reading speed, distorted objects, and difficulty recognizing faces or words. If you've had a TBI, visiting a busy place can quickly overwhelm your fragile visual processing system. It may cause dizziness and nausea or make everything seem as if it is moving or spinning.

Vision Therapy Offers a Solution for TBI-Related Vision Problems

Your brain may need a little retraining after a TBI. During sessions with your vision therapist, you'll participate in a variety of activities, exercises, and games designed to strengthen and improve the connection between the eyes and the brain and help your brain correctly process and interpret the information it receives from your eyes. Your therapy may also involve special lenses and aides that make it easier to read or write.

Vision therapy may reverse or improve temporary vision changes or help you develop strategies to compensate for permanent changes. The therapy offers an effective way to treat many vision problems caused by TBI.

Vision therapy for convergence insufficiency, one of the most common complaints after a TBI, was successful for 85 percent of patients in one research study. According to the study that was published in Optometry and Vision Science, the remaining 15 percent noted some improvement in their symptoms.

Vision therapy provides a natural way to improve vision symptoms after a TBI. If you're tired of living with vision problems caused by your injury, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

American Optometric Association: Concussions, Vision & Your Eye Doctor, 8/18

Optometry and Vision Science: Vision Therapy for Post-Concussion Vision Disorder, 1/17

BrainLine: Vision Issues After Brain Injury

All About Vision: Do You Know the Symptoms of Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury?

Optometry and Vision Science: Visual Deficits and Dysfunctions Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, 8/19

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