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According to current research, the prevalence of vision problems after concussions may be as high as 69 percent. Concussion-related functional vision problems can be debilitating, severely impacting your ability to learn, work and live a normal life.

Fortunately, concussion-related functional vision problems can be treated through the use of vision therapy.

What are concussion-related functional vision problems?

Concussion-related functional vision problems are impaired functional vision skills resulting from a head injury. Functional vision is your ability to move, team and focus your eyes to gather information from the world around you. They include the functional visual skills of eye focusing, eye tracking and eye teaming. (It should be noted that eyesight is one of the many visual skills.)

Eye focusing - Your ability to see an object clearly (especially at near) and your ability to shift focus between objects at different distances.

Eye teaming - Your ability to direct both eyes to fixate on the same object. Your brain to give you depth perception combines the two images, one from each eye.

Eye movements - Your ability to fixate and follow a moving object and to switch fixation between objects.

Concussion Vision Symptoms

Symptoms may vary among concussed patients, but typical symptoms include:

  • Double vision
  • Poor eye tracking ability
  • Difficulties with shifting gaze quickly from one point to another
  • Focusing
  • Loss of binocular vision (eye alignment)
  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue
  • Glare, or light sensitivity
  • Inability to maintain visual contact
  • Headaches
  • Blurred near vision

The extent of the injury can also impact a person’s visual information processing ability. This can cause the following symptoms:

  • Spatial disorientation
  • Difficulties with balance and posture
  • Poor depth perception
  • Memory loss
  • Poor handwriting
In some of the success stories we detail below, these symptoms can be debilitating, rendering a patient helpless to overcome ongoing pain and disorientation. The issue is that the visual system has been impaired, and it requires vision therapy to return to normal functionality.

Treatment for post-concussion vision problems Treatment for a functional vision problem resulting from a concussion will be different for every patient. After we’ve diagnosed the specific issue affecting a patient, our developmental optometrists may recommend some or all of these treatment methods:

Glasses: Prescription lenses specifically designed to alleviate symptoms and improve visual function.

Syntonics:An imbalance in the autonomic nervous system is commonly seen in traumatic brain injuries. This imbalance negatively affects a person’s use of their vision. A non-invasive treatment using therapeutic light, syntonic phototherapy can be successful in restoring balance to the autonomic nervous system, which supports the rehabilitation of visual skills.

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