Concussions & Vision
Concussions have been a highlight in the media and in our communities over the last few years. We now know more about concussions than we ever have. Typically we think of concussions as being secondary to a sport related injury. However, in reality, concussions can happen from any head injury. You can get a concussion from a fall, or from motor vehicle accident or even from playing with a child who accidentally hits you in the head.
The visual system is extremely fragile. We typically think of vision as the ability to see 20/20, that is the ability to see a certain sized letter from a certain distance. However, vision involves so much more. We can see 20/20 but still have a lot of difficulty with our vision, for example blurry vision at near, double vision, headaches, dizziness, and even difficulty in busy environments. The reason is that the eyes are part of an intricate system, one which is guided by the brain. The brain tells the eyes were to move, how to coordinate, when to change focus and how to process the information.
A concussion, or a hit to the head, does not necessarily involve a loss of consciousness. Concussions can change the way the brain guides the eyes and the way we process the information. In essence, it is the brain that does the “seeing”, your eyes are just a vehicle for information to be sent to the brain. Post Trauma Vision Syndrome is a condition in which a concussion or head injury disrupts the way we either focus our eyes, coordinate our eyes, move our eyes, and process the information coming from the eyes.
Post Trauma Vision Disorder can have a profound impact on our day to day lives. It can make working very challenging and participating in daily activities difficult. It can cause headaches, dizziness, skipping words or lines while reading, difficulty walking, poor memory of tasks at hand, difficulty dealing with busy environments, light sensitivity and even double vision. Treatments for Post Trauma Vision Disorder can include new glasses, reading prescription, speciality lenses, and vision therapy.
If you experience a concussion make sure you get a comprehensive eye examination by an Optometrist skilled in binocular vision disorders and concussions.