Post-Traumatic Vision Syndrome
An astounding 2.8 million Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI) each year, of which the majority are mild brain injuries (i.e. concussions). In 9 out of 10 cases, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries result in some degree of visual dysfunction, as nearly half of the brain is dedicated to vision-related processing. The collective symptoms of visual disturbances following a head injury are referred to as post-traumatic vision syndrome (PTVS). Neuro-optometric rehabilitation helps to restore pathways in the eye-brain connection and reduce PTVS symptoms.
If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact our optometrists to learn how neuro-rehabilitation therapy can provide visual recovery.
What Is Post-Traumatic Vision Syndrome?
Trauma to the brain’s cortex stresses the central and autonomic nervous systems. This affects vision and interferes with the visual process and sensory-motor feedback loop.
There are two aspects of vision that, in a healthy person, interact seamlessly for clear vision: central vision and peripheral/spatial vision. Those with PTVS will experience difficulty connecting the two systems, resulting in one or several visual disturbances and symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of PTVS?
Even with 20/20 vision, a concussed patient may experience visual dysfunctions, such as:
- Eyestrain, especially while reading or using the computer
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Low blink rate
- Depth-perception issues
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Difficulty with eye-tracking
Non-visual symptoms include:
- Difficulty reading
- Poor balance
- Difficulty navigating through crowded or tight spaces
- Visual memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Driving difficulties
How Does a Neuro-Optometrist Treat PTVS?
Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is the process where a specially trained optometrist helps the patient improve any visual skills that have been reduced due to brain trauma. The neuro-optometrist will diagnose ocular health and assess a wide range of visual abilities, including:
- Functional binocularity
- Spatial awareness
- Visual processing skills
- Eye-tracking and focusing
- Ocular motor function
- Visual midline shift
After diagnosis, the doctor will formulate a highly personalized treatment strategy that may include the use of specialty lenses, prisms, and other visual aids to rehabilitate vision.
Treatment time ranges from a number of weeks to over a year, depending on the degree of visual dysfunction and patient compliance. Since the visual system is connected with other bodily systems, an interdisciplinary and cooperative approach with other health care professionals is ideal for optimal results.
It’s crucial to get treatment for PTVS as soon as possible to minimize any struggles and regain pre-injury quality of life. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call Lifetime Eyecare today.
Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Park, and Beaumont, Alberta and surrounding communities.