A head injury can have some serious consequences on the vision system. An individual can suffer a range of symptoms including double vision, dizziness, nausea, loss of attention when reading, headaches, blurred vision, eyestrain, visual confusion, visual field loss and more. Those who suffer from these symptoms, after a concussion, may likely have post-concussion vision syndrome.
Optometric Vision Therapy can effectively treat the visual consequences of an acquired brain injury (including double vision, motion sensitivity, eye strain, poor spatial awareness and more). These consequences are often integrated with vestibular rehabilitation as these two systems (visual and vestibular) are linked neurologically.
Comfortable vision is dependent on 12 eyes muscles working together efficiently and integrating smoothly with other parts of the brain. The eye muscles send and receive signals from centers located throughout the brain and brainstem. This visual information must be integrated correctly with the other sensory systems. Up to 80% of the brain is involved with vision and visual processing, so functional vision problems can occur with almost every head injury and stroke incident. These problems could be permanent or temporary, but research shows the recovery can be sped up with optometric vision therapy. Early office based vision therapy treatment will also assist the physical therapies to progress faster. Here at the Vision Therapy Institute, we have helped hundreds of stroke and head injury patients recover faster from their accident.
The secret to treating eye conditions for patients who have suffered brain injuries is to treat the visual dysfunctions as early as possible and help the patient follow the road to recovery over time. Because vision is one important piece of the rehabilitation process, we will coordinate our individually prescribed programs with the person’s physician, physical, occupational and speech therapists. We help these patients return to driving, working and living independently. We are proud to be part of the team.
We also utilize a multi-sensory approach to rehabilitation. Depending on the needs of the person, auditory programs from the Integrated Listening Solutions may be incorporated. “A regular eye exam may not reveal the extent that the visual process is affected,” says Shirley Ha, OD, FCOVD, Advisory Board member, Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA). “Since both the vestibular and visual systems are affected in spatial orientation visual deficits related to a vestibular disorder should be evaluated by a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Optometrist, an eye care professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment/rehabilitation of neurological conditions adversely affecting the visual system.”
One of the best resources for anyone looking to help a student who has sustained a concussion is the South Carolina REAP Manual. The REAP (Reduce/Remove, Educate, Accommodate/Adjust, Pace) protocol is a multidisciplinary approach to Returning To Learn (RTL) and Returning to Play (RTP) that provides support to students, their families, health care providers, and schools. You can download a copy of the South Carolina REAP Manual here and share it with your colleagues and friends. Dr, Davis is one of the contributing authors.
“Since my unfortunate encounter with an impaired driver, I have spent the last 10 months completing various therapies. I came to Dr. Davis on the recommendation from my concussion therapist. The wreck left me with multiple injuries that were not apparent from looking at me. I knew the wreck had left me with vision, balance and cognitive issues. It wasn’t until I started the treatment plan that I became fully aware of how severe and limited I had become with my memory and vision. I was unknowingly compensating for vision issues when I started the program. This also accounted for my vertigo and balance problems. The cognitive issues created by the concussion took patience to work through. The weekly exercise pushed me. It took a few weeks before I began to see and feel the improvements. Each week, new challenges were assigned. Some at the beginning seemed out of reach. The dedication of the staff and motivation from Santana and others pushed me to do more than at times I felt capable of achieving. This program has improved all aspects of my life. My family and clients have seen the improvements. They say I’m back to my old self. I can’t say enough about the staff that worked with me. Santana was patient and amazing as we went through the weekly schedule. Now at the end of the program I have significantly improved in all areas. I will continue to perform the exercises as the healing process continues. We set a goal at the start of the program. We reached my goal two weeks before the completion of the program. I am very pleased with the methods used by the Vision Therapy staff. I never imagined I would be in need of such a treatment program. However, when that moment arrived, I am thankful to have had such a valuable resource to help me through the healing process. To experience vision, balance and cognitive problems such as I had were at times debilitating. To see and now daily experience the improvement achieved in 10 short weeks is truly amazing. I would highly recommend Dr. Davis, and the staff at the Vision Therapy Institute.” –Age 63