May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and here at OCVT we play a unique role in helping patients recover from strokes. We wanted to take a moment to spread the word about strokes, the effects, and how vision therapy can help. Stroke is the number 2 cause of death worldwide and a leading cause of disability.
5 Key Facts About Stroke
FACT #1: Stroke kills brain cells, it happens when a clot or rupture interrupts blood flow to the brain. Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells die.
FACT #2: Types of stroke – Ischemic is caused by a clot, Hemorrhagic is caused by a rupture and Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or “mini stroke” is caused by a temporary blockage.
FACT #3: About one in four stroke survivors is at risk for another. Fortunately, up to 80 percent of second clot-related strokes may be preventable.
FACT #4: Prevention is key. Had a stroke? Create a plan with your doctor to prevent another, which may include managing high blood pressure and discussing aspirin or other medicine. Aspirin is not appropriate for everyone, so be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
FACT #5: Time lost is brain lost. Learn the FAST warning signs. F- Face Drooping A -Arm Weakness S -Speech Difficulty T- Time to call 911.
*Courtesy of The American Stroke Association
Vision and the Brain
Vision 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.
Brain Injury Rehabilitation in Austin & San Antonio, TX
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 a 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.
Non-Traumatic Brain Injury
If you normally have good vision but experience double vision suddenly, you may be dealing with a non-traumatic brain injury due to a stroke, infection, or tumor. Prioritize a trip to the doctor—if they can’t identify the cause of your sudden visual impairment, they may send you to a neurologist or neurosurgeon for further investigation. If double vision persists after proper diagnosis and treatment vision therapy rehabilitation is needed.
The Importance of a Well-Qualified Neuro-Optometrist
Specialization in neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a rarity. 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 one (21) FNORA professionals in the United States. Dr. Larson is the lone practicing optometrist in Texas with an FNORA credential.
Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation (Vision Therapy) at OCVT
Vision therapy after brain injury is highly involved. Our neuro-optometric evaluations at the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy (OCVT) go far beyond standard eyesight and eye health exams. 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. Your treatment program may include specialized lenses, filters, prisms, vision therapy , and referrals to other specialists.
The Importance Of Vision Therapy
Visual symptoms resulting from neurological damage may seem obvious, but many problems go undetected or misdiagnosed by standard eye exams. It’s imperative to work with a qualified visual therapist and developmental optometrist specializing in neuro-optometric rehabilitation to thoroughly investigate your condition.
Doctors certified in neuro-optometry and visual rehabilitation at OCVT evaluate patients’ conditions, going far beyond eyesight and health, to provide in-depth, accurate diagnoses and treatment rehabilitation plans. OCVT doctors will evaluate general vision, eye and brain coordination, memory, and integrations (visual motor integration and coordination, processing speed, and balance and posture). With neuro-optometric rehabilitation treatment plans in place, patients can reduce visual symptoms impairment and improve everyday function.
*The American Stroke Association is a relentless force for a healthier world with fewer strokes. They team with millions of volunteers to prevent, treat and beat stroke by funding innovative research, fighting for stronger public health policies, and providing lifesaving tools and information. The Dallas-based association was created in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE, 1-888-478-7653, or visit stroke.org.