Vision is arguably our most important source of sensory information. The visual process involves the flow and processing of information from the eyes and body to the brain. However, since the brain is so integral to the visual process, any condition or injury that affects the brain can also have a significant impact on our vision.
Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBI’s, occur when there is a disruption to the normal functioning of the brain as a result of trauma to the head. Although their name can make them sound catastrophic, the actual severity of TBI’s can vary wildly. Many are considered fairly mild, including a concussion. Research estimates that as many as 5 million concussions occur in the United States every year, which makes concussions the most common type of traumatic brain injury.
The majority of traumatic brain injuries are caused by blunt trauma to the head. This can happen for a range of reasons, from trips or falls where you hit your head, to playing sports, or being involved in a car accident.
Vision problems resulting from concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are often overlooked in the immediate aftermath of the accident that causes them. They might not even be picked up during the initial period of treatment. The following are some of the most common vision problems that can be attributed to traumatic brain injuries like a concussion.
• Blurred vision
• Sensitivity to light
• Difficulty reading
• Headaches when performing visual tasks
• Peripheral vision loss
• Double vision
• Eye movements are more difficult than usual
• Excessive tiredness
Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries that are left untreated can cause serious consequences for the patient. This includes chronic headaches, concentration and memory problems, poor reading comprehension, impaired depth perception, ability to self-organize, and even problems with balance and coordination. In some instances, these issues may last
months or even years. The good news is that there are treatment options that can help to retrain the visual system to eliminate the visual symptoms from a concussion.