If you’ve hit your head in a fall while playing sports or in any other type of accident, your vision may have been impacted.
Between 69% and 82% of people who've experienced concussions report visual problems, such as eyestrain and double or blurred vision.
Head trauma causes the brain to move within the skull. The movement can stretch the fragile cranial nerves and can even damage brain cells. Since vision relies on efficient communication between the eyes and the brain, a concussion can disrupt these neural pathways, affecting your vision.
The resulting condition is called post-trauma vision syndrome (PTVS).
How Does a Concussion Affect Vision?
Our vision depends on our brain’s ability to accurately receive and interpret the images sent by our eyes. Therefore, anything that impacts the brain can severely affect our ability to see clearly. When we suffer head injuries caused by a traffic accident or a serious fall, the resulting head injury can impact the communication between our eyes and brain.
Although your eyes may be healthy, your vision may be blurred, or you might start seeing double or experience eye strain due to post-trauma vision syndrome.
What Is Post Trauma Vision Syndrome?
Post-trauma vision syndrome refers to a number of visual problems that tend to occur following a severe head injury. If you have PTVS, you may have trouble with:
- Focusing - changing focus from close to far or keeping your vision clear
- Eye teaming or binocular vision - your eyes’ ability to coordinate
- Depth perception - judging distance or the relationship of one object to another
- Eye-tracking - visually following an object or text on a screen or page
- Peripheral vision - seeing things from the side of the eyes
- Eye alignment - the eyes aren’t aligned correctly or point in different directions
Any one of these visual problems can negatively affect your ability to perform day-to-day tasks and significantly lower your quality of life. Driving, reading, watching TV, participating in sports, enjoying hobbies and even socializing can become difficult.
Why You Need a Neuro-Optometrist
A neuro-optometrist is trained to diagnose and treat visual problems related to the nervous system caused by head injuries, strokes and neurological diseases. After assessing your visual system for any aberrations, your neuro-optometrist will prescribe a customized treatment plan to strengthen your visual system and improve your quality of life.
What Treatments Improve Vision Following a Concussion?
A neuro-optometrist may prescribe any of the following to relieve symptoms after a concussion and help you see and feel better:
- Prescription lenses – especially for blurry vision
- Prism lenses
- Syntonic phototherapy – the use of light to create balance in the autonomous nervous system and restore vision
- Neuro-optometric therapy – a customized eye exercise program designed to rehabilitate your visual skills
How Long Do Visual Problems Last After a Concussion?
Typically, visual problems caused by a concussion don’t become noticeable for some time. Symptoms of visual problems can appear or remain for weeks, months or even years after the original incident. Any person who has had a concussion should be assessed by a neuro-optometrist, even if they’re not experiencing any obvious visual problems.
If you’re still experiencing any visual symptoms of post-traumatic vision syndrome, even weeks or months after your head injury, it’s essential to see a neuro-optometrist for diagnosis and treatment. If this is your case, we invite you to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shirley Ha at today.
Our practice serves patients from Oakville, Burlington, Halton, and Mississauga, Ontario and surrounding communities.
- A: In some cases, a concussion can permanently impact your vision, especially if your visual system or optic nerve has been damaged. The good news is that most visual problems caused by a head injury respond well to neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.
- A: Diagnosis can depend on several factors. If someone has been in a serious accident, their physicians are focused on life-threatening injuries. As a result, all but the most obvious visual symptoms, such as vision loss, may be missed. In other cases, the signs of PTVS can be very subtle and undetectable in a routine eye exam. That’s why anyone who has experienced a concussion should have their vision thoroughly examined by a neuro-optometrist.