We have all heard of the term concussion before and how it can affect our cognitive abilities, but have you ever stopped to wonder how it can affect your vision as well?
The brain rests inside the skull and is cushioned by spinal fluid. When a violent external force comes into contact with one’s head, the skull is able to absorb only some of the impact. The abrupt blow can cause the brain to jolt and come into contact with the inner side of the skull. This can tear the blood vessels, injure the nerve fibers or bruise the brain tissue, which can ultimately affect all aspects of brain function, like mental awareness and level of consciousness. Many people are familiar with this definition of what a concussion is and the symptoms of it, but many don’t realize that vision can be affected as well.
How Can a Concussion Affect Your Vision?
Our brain and vision are closely connected and are always working together. Being able to take in our surroundings and to make sense of everything requires our brain and eyes to be healthy and normal. An injury to the brain results in a temporary change or loss in normal brain functions and with 67% of our neural connections involving vision, a large amount of people experience visual issues after a brain injury.
What kind of problems can a concussion have on our vision? An array of issues can occur that can impede on our visual perception and integration abilities, which can ultimately affect our everyday life. Some of the following are:
Accommodative dysfunction: A reduction in focusing power where focusing from near to distance and vice versa becomes strained. Any activity at near distances, especially reading, can be constantly blurry and your vision can even pulse in and out.
Blurry vision: Eyesight may lose its sharpness and clarity, making objects (near or far) appear out of focus and hazy.
Convergence insufficiency: Being able to look at objects up-close requires our eyes to turn inward. Convergence insufficiency is when the eyes have trouble turning inward, making it difficult to comfortably focus at near objects.
Ocular-motor dysfunction: The eyes ability to follow a moving target and how accurately they jump from one target to the next is worsened.
Visual information processing issues: The brain experiences problems in efficiently and accurately processing and understanding visual information that the eyes are seeing.
The complete cooperation between our eyes and brain are necessary to perform everyday tasks. If the connection between the two dampen because of trauma, a wide-range of symptoms that decrease our efficiency in performing the simplest of tasks will ensue. Being able to seamlessly read a line of words across a page requires normal ocular-motor skills. Even having the ability to look back and forth from the whiteboard to your paper in a classroom depends on proper accommodation skills. Injuring our brain and the nerves that help us to readily see and process what we see may seem scary and daunting, but fear not, the visual conditions mentioned above are not permanent.
Vision Therapy as a Treatment Option for Vision Problems as a Result of Concussion
Vision therapy is a great solution to reestablishing the neurological pathways between our eyes and brain. It is a program comprised of a variety of individualized tests that can help strengthen one’s eye muscles. It can also not only help re-train our eyes to work together again but restore proper interaction both our brain and eyes to allow a concussion patient to attain great visual, cognitive and processing skills again. Insight Vision Center Optometry offers vision therapy and take great pride in our program. Our office has hundreds of activities that can address the visual issues a concussion can bestow upon someone. Don’t hesitate to contact our office if you experience any signs of visual issues following a concussion. We definitely want to help you and want you to love the way you see again.