StephanieL Wolman, OD,FCOVD
More than half of the brain’s pathways are visual in nature. Therefore, it is difficult to have an acquired or traumatic brain injury without suffering a visual dysfunction. These visual dysfunctions can be the missing link to the overall recovery process, as they do not just directly impact vision. They can negatively affect memory, balance, spatial awareness, and processing speed, to name a few. Unfortunately, visual deficits are often not realized or addressed by other professionals during the rehabilitation process. On the outside, patients look healthy and unaffected, however, many can no longer work or go to school, no longer take care of routine household duties, and they cannot keep up with family activities and in social situations. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation uses lenses, prisms, and therapy to develop new pathways in the brain to regain control of the eyes and the perception and processing of incoming visual information. As a neuro-optometrist, I work with this special group of patients, children and adults, to help them reclaim their lives which have been altered by brain injury.
Each year, millions of people sustain a traumatic brain injury, of which approximately 75% are concussions. With more children and adolescents playing sports today, concussions are on the rise. Children and adolescents are more vulnerable because their brains are still developing. A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a jolt or blow to the head or body that forces the head to move rapidly back and forth from a fall, a car accident, or physical activity. While patterns emerge among patient symptoms, no two patients are identical.
Common Symptoms of a Concussion/Brain Injury
Blurred vision at distance and/or near
Poor coordination, balance, and/or spatial awareness
Reading slowly or avoiding reading
Fatigue after maintaining visual concentration for a short time
Dizziness or nausea
Loses place while reading
Poor recall of visually presented information
Rubs eyes frequently
Impaired depth perception
Impaired peripheral vision
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