Discovering Vision Therapy Blog

Does Vision Therapy Help With Vision Problems From Head Injuries?

Acquired brain injuries can result in vision problems

People often refer to “seeing stars” after a blow to the head, so it’s surprising how often the visual system is overlooked with acquired brain injuries. What can you do to help improve your vision after a head trauma?  Vision therapy could be your answer.

Whether from a hard fall or a stroke, an insult to the brain can have mild or severe consequences. Usually, issues with consciousness and cognitive ability are prioritized in the recovery process.

But vision problems from head trauma are often overlooked in initial brain injury evaluation and treatment. If left untreated, they can hinder a patient’s ability to heal, which lengthens and further complicates rehabilitation efforts.

How do acquired and traumatic brain injuries cause vision problems? And why does vision therapy play an essential role in this type of recovery?

Traumatic brain injuries impact on Vision

An intricate relationship exists between your visual system and your brain, as the two are constantly exchanging information. An insult to the brain can disrupt this process, leading to the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Reading difficulties

  • Comprehension difficulty

  • Difficulty concentrating, paying attention

  • Impaired memory

  • Seeing double

  • Eye pain and/or fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Loss of visual field

A disrupted visual system can result in more than just a headache. Vision is a learned skill, like walking or talking. If head trauma compromises these skills, a patient may need vision therapy to address one or more of the following visual skills:

  • Tracking: your eyes’ ability to move accurately and efficiently across a printed page, or while watching a moving object.

  • Fixation: the ability to maintain fixation on a target of interest is at the foundation of visual attention.

  • Focus change: looking back and forth from far to near without seeing any blur.

  • Depth perception: determining where an object is in space.

  • Peripheral vision: the ability to use your entire surrounding field of vision.

  • Binocularity: using both eyes together comfortably and accurately as a team.

  • Maintaining attention: keeping focused on a particular activity despite the presence of distractions, such as noise.

  • Visualization: accurately picturing images in the “mind’s eye,” and being able to recall them in the future.

  • Near and distant visual acuity: clearly seeing objects viewed within an arm’s length and at a distance.

  • Vision perception: understanding what you see.

The vision therapy process for brain injuries

When a person’s vision is not working well as a result of a brain injury, it interferes with his or her activities of daily living. A person must improve how they use their vision in order to make these activities easier to complete.

A functional vision assessment by a developmental optometrist is essential to head trauma recovery. After this evaluation, they design a treatment program to rehabilitate the visual system. This program includes the use of lenses, prisms and therapy activities to improve the efficiency of the patient’s visual system.

If you or someone you know suffered head trauma, make sure to receive a functional vision system evaluation. It’s a crucial, and overlooked, step on the road to recovery.

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Posted by   Greg Mischio