A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be a life-altering experience and will most likely impact multiple aspects of your health. Most of the time people don’t immediately think about how a traumatic brain injury can affect your vision, but nearly 20-40% of TBI patients experience some vision-related disorder after their injury. While there is some visual testing done prior to diagnosing a TBI, a complete vision examination is not required in order to diagnose a TBI. Because of this lack of comprehensive visual testing, more often than not the red flags for visual impairment are missed during the diagnosis and treatment of TBIs. For this reason, you should always seek a comprehensive eye exam from your optometrist if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a TBI so that they can properly examine your vision and refer you for rehabilitation.
Here at The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy, we specialize in providing treatment for visual impairments, including those associated with a TBI. The two most common types of vision problems include visual acuity loss and visual field loss. It is possible for some patients to experience both types of vision problems with a TBI.
- Visual acuity loss- This type of vision problem is when there is a loss of clarity in the patient’s vision. With a brain injury, this can be a relatively minor or a serious condition. This type of vision loss is usually treated with glasses, magnifiers, or electronic reading aids.
- Visual field loss- This type of vision problem is exactly as it sounds and occurs when part of the field of vision is unable to be seen and lost. Treatment for visual field loss is largely dependent upon how much of your field of vision has been compromised.
Just as it is with any type of rehabilitation associated with TBI, each case is unique and results of treatment will vary depending on the type and severity of the injury. Sometimes the vision problems are permanent, while other patients will eventually experience improved or restored vision. With vision therapy, our team will work together to customize an individualized treatment plan that will work best for you and help you through your recovery and adapt to your circumstances. In cases where full recovery is not foreseen, we will work with you to gain as much vision correction and independence as possible.
In some rare cases such as those TBIs associated with gunshot wounds or injuries to the back of the head, total blindness may occur. In these cases, the eyes are usually healthy, but the part of the brain that handles the functionality of your vision may be damaged and inoperable.
The most important thing to remember if you are suffering from vision problems associated with TBI is that you are not alone. While the loss of vision can be an isolating experience, our team of specialists is here to support you through every step of your journey to recovery. For more information about vision problems associated with brain injury, our vision therapy services, or to schedule an appointment, contact The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy today. We would be happy to help answer any questions you may have.