Vision Therapy and Brain Injuries

Vision Therapy and Brain InjuriesTraumatic brain injuries usually result from a blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that goes through brain tissue can also cause traumatic brain injury. Mild traumatic brain injuries can have a temporary effect on your brain cells. However, more serious traumatic brain injuries can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.

Traumatic brain injuries can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later.

Common events causing traumatic brain injury include the following:

  • Falls from bed or a ladder, down stairs, in the bath, and other falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury overall, particularly in older adults and young children.
  • Vehicle-related collisions. Collisions involving cars, motorcycles or bicycles — and pedestrians involved in such accidents — are a common cause of traumatic brain injury.
  • Gunshot wounds, domestic violence, child abuse and other assaults are common causes. Shaken baby syndrome is a traumatic brain injury in infants caused by violent shaking.
  • Sports injuries. Traumatic brain injuries may be caused by injuries from a number of sports, including soccer, boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, skateboarding, hockey, and other high-impact or extreme sports. These are particularly common in youth.
  • Explosive blasts and other combat injuries. Explosive blasts are a common cause of traumatic brain injury in active-duty military personnel. Although how the damage occurs isn’t yet well understood, many researchers believe that the pressure wave passing through the brain significantly disrupts brain function. Traumatic brain injury also results from penetrating wounds, severe blows to the head with shrapnel or debris, and falls or bodily collisions with objects following a blast.

Vision therapy (called neuro-optometric rehabilitation in case of brain injury) helps treat the effects of brain injury and teaches the injured brain new ways to compensate for vision problems. The result is a natural and sustainable treatment that may allow those affected by brain injury to reclaim some or most of their visual function. The goal of your neuro-optometric rehabilitation treatment program is to eliminate visual-related signs and symptoms, advance the outcome of other rehabilitative services, and improve quality of life.

Vision Therapy for Brain Injury & Head Injury Rehabilitation

Vision Therapy and Brain InjuriesVision is a product of the dynamic relationship between the eyes and the brain. 70% of the sensory input to the brain is vision-related, and visual information is processed in every lobe of the brain. The eyes, direct extensions of the brain made from the same neuro-sensory tissue, gather and send information to the brain for interpretation to direct thought and action.

Because of this close interaction of the eyes and brain to create vision, individuals suffering from injury to the head often have vision disturbances. These visual disturbances can greatly impact their quality of life. In fact, 80-85% of our perception, learning, cognition and activities are mediated through vision.

Vision therapy (called neuro-optometric rehabilitation in case of brain injury) helps treat the effects of brain injury and teaches the injured brain new ways to compensate for vision problems. The result is a natural and sustainable treatment that may allow those affected by brain injury to reclaim some or most of their visual function.

The Importance of a Well-Qualified Neuro-Optometrist

Vision Therapy and Brain InjuriesSpecialization in neuro-optometric rehabilitation is rare. Since rebuilding functions in the brain must be handled delicately, rigorous study and practice in the field are necessary to achieve some level of success.

The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA) inducted Dr. Briana Larson as a Fellow (FNORA) during its 2014 Annual Conference at North Carolina. A Fellow of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (FNORA) designation is recognition of a professional’s highest level of competence in clinical abilities and scientific knowledge in the field of Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation.

Currently, there are only twenty three (23) FNORA professionals in the United States. Dr. Larson is the lone practicing optometrist in Texas with an FNORA credential.

Symptoms of Vision Problems Caused by Head and Brain Injury

Visual problems commonly follow head injury. More than 50% of individuals suffering from neurological damage have visual and visual- cognitive disorders. In addition, visual-perceptual dysfunction is one of the most common devastating residual impairments of head injury. Vision-related signs and symptoms associated with neurological damage include:

Direct Vision Problems

Vision Therapy and Brain Injuries

  • Double vision
  • Eye turns
  • Blurry vision

Sensitivities

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Frequent nausea and dizziness
  • Frequent headaches
  • Inclination to motion sickness
  • Sore or irritated eyes during reading or computer use
  • Dry or watery eyes

Incapacities

  • Reduced reading comprehension
  • Decreased memory and attention
  • Loss of place when reading
  • Poor balance or posture
  • Loss of side vision
  • Reduced coordination

Behavioral Changes

  • Fatigue during reading or computer use
  • Intolerance to crowded places or loud noises
  • Bumping into objects
  • Walking only on one-side of a hallway

Visual disorders interfering with the healing and rehabilitative process often go undetected and misdiagnosed by standard eye exams that show normal eyesight and eye health.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation (Vision Therapy) at OCVT

Vision therapy after brain injury is highly involved. Your neuro-optometric evaluations at the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy (OCVT) go far beyond standard eyesight and eye health exams. To uncover the entirety of your condition and rehabilitative needs, your OCVT doctor will evaluate the following:

General Vision

  • Near and distant acuity
  • Refractive status (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism)
  • Depth perception
  • Color vision

Eye & Brain Coordination

  • Eye focusing, tracking, and teaming
  • Light and contrast sensitivity
  • Neurological pathway integrity
  • Peripheral vision
  • Visual memory
  • Visual attention
  • Spatial awareness

Integrations

  • Visual motor integration & coordination
  • Visual auditory integration
  • Processing speed
  • Reading fluency, speed, comprehension
  • Balance and posture

The goal of your neuro-optometric rehabilitation treatment program is to eliminate visual-related signs and symptoms, advance the outcome of other rehabilitative services, and improve quality of life.  Concluding your neuro-optometric rehabilitation evaluations at OCVT, your doctor will administer a consultation with you to discuss all test results and treatment recommendations.  Your treatment program may include specialized lenses, filters, prisms, vision therapy , and referrals to other specialists.

How Do I Schedule an Appointment for Vision Therapy after Concussions and Head Injuries?

Come into the location nearest you or call to talk with us directly. You can also reach us anytime by filling out the contact form on our Contact Us page. We encourage you to complete a thorough exam at OCVT following any brain injury, whether a visual condition is apparent or not. We’re waiting at your nearest location to help you begin your treatment as soon as possible!

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