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Over 60,000 people in North Carolina will suffer from a traumatic brain injury this year:

20-40% will experience vision loss

Common Vision Conditions that Arise From TBI/Concussions

Binocular Vision Issues/Eye Teaming:

Binocular vision refers to the ability of the brain to use both eyes simultaneously to focus on one object. This task is used to create depth perception and a wider field of view among other important visual tasks. The most common Binocular issue is convergence insufficiency which affects reading, balance and spatial perception.

Accommodative Eye Focusing:

Accommodative focusing problems lead to a variety of symptoms such as blurry vision, eye strain, difficulty focusing, and headaches.

Eye Movement and Tracking/Oculomotor Dysfunction:

Some experts estimate that up to 90% of people with traumatic brain injury experience some form of oculomotor dysfunction. This visual skill is essential for reading, using the computer, and other skills.

What Does The Research Say?

How common is a visual diagnosis for brain injury?

http://www.drgallaway.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Vision-and-Concussion-Master-at-al-21015.pdf

What is the success rate of Neuro Visual Rehabilitation for Concussions?

http://www.advancedvt.com/Resources/VT%20for%20Concussion.pdf

Click here to watch our success stories.

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Vision Therapy For Traumatic Brain Injury

What is a traumatic brain injury?

A brain injury or the resulting condition such as the ones listed below can result in serious vision problems, which can have a devastating effect on one's ability to complete basic day-to-day tasks. The damage can also be cumulative over time. Multiple concussions, even minor ones, can result in serious long-term complications.

Contrary to what you might think, it is the brain, and not the eyes, that is the key to seeing well. Your vision is really the sum total of how your brain receives visual information and then interprets and processes that information to permit you to see. The accuracy of that process depends on a healthy brain correctly going about this processing.

What are common brain injuries that affect vision?

There are many different types of brain injuries that affect vision including:   Traumatic Brain Injury, Mild Acquired Brain Injury, Hemianopsia or Hemianopia, Mild Closed Head Injury, Post-Concussion or Post-Concussive Syndrome, Cervical Trauma Syndrome, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Cerebral Vascular Accident, Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome, Stroke. 

Brain Injuries such as whiplash and concussions can cause serious vision issues that make it difficult to do many of the tasks we take for granted. 

Common vision issues from TBI are: 

  • Blurry vision 
  • Double vision
  • A loss of side vision (peripheral vision)
  • Pain or achy eyes 
  • Difficulty with spatial assessment (depth perception, sports, balance) 

 

How Can You Treat Vision Loss as a Result of TBI?

Our Charlotte vision therapist that focuses on traumatic acquired brain injury will assess how the brain processes visual information prior to developing a rehabilitation program for the patient. The focus of vision therapy for an acquired brain injury is to treat the visual symptoms which will then allow the patient to pursue other forms of rehabilitation more effectively.

What types of brain injuries

Any trauma to the head can cause a brain injury that leads to some kind of vision loss. Car accidents with whiplash, sports injuries, strokes, brain tumors, infections or inflammation of the brain are some of the more common causes of vision loss from acquired brain injuries. 

What doctor treats patients with vision loss from brain injuries?

Meet our Charlotte Vision Therapy eye doctor, Dr. Laura Ashe.

Dr. Laura Ashe attended the Southern College of Optometry where she was awarded the College of Optometrists in Vision Development Vision Therapy Award. After graduating she completed a residency in Pediatrics and Vision Therapy.

Dr Ashe’s passion for helping people, has driven her to complete of over 100 hours of continuing education in the areas of Vision Therapy and Pediatric Optometry.

“My favorite part about being an optometrist is helping people with their most precious sense: sight. What allows me to do this is appropriately diagnosing, managing, treating and educating my patients, and understanding that patients are not a set of eyes, but real people!”

Prior to joining Complete Eye Care, Dr. Ashe served as a primary care optometrist as well as a Consulting Faculty at Southern College of Optometry in Pediatrics and Vision Therapy Dr. Ashe’s goal is to ensure efficient visual development in the pediatric population. She is a member of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), The American Optometric Association, and the North Carolina Optometric Association.

How We Help

There are innumerable potential causes of brain injuries that can result in vision problems.

Our vision therapy practice in Belmont, North Carolina specializes in Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation ― a  specific Vision Therapy program for those who have suffered a brain injury. Using series of custom and personalized exercises, the brain can be retrained to accurately receive, process, and interpret visual signals again. Research has shown that recovery from vision problems is essential to recovery from any brain injury.

Types Of Vision Problems Resulting From A Brain Injury

Problems such as these can drastically affect day to day functioning even at the most basic levels. It’s only once such vision problems are addressed that the victim of a brain injury can get the most out of other treatments such as physical, occupational, and cognitive therapies.

Brain Injuries Can Result In A Range Of Vision Problems

 This includes:

      • Diplopia (double-vision)
      • Tracking issues
      • Maintaining physical eye focus
      • Difficulty staying mentally focused
      • Strabismus  (eye turns)
      • Binocular Vision Dysfunctions  (the ability to coordinate the two eyes to work together)
      • Abnormal posture
      • Head tilts or turns
      • Bumping into objects
      • Closing or covering one eye
      • Balance and coordination problems
      • Reduced ability to sustain attention on visual tasks
      • Poor depth perception
      • Confusion related to visual tasks
      • Reduced ability to accurately
      • Difficulty reading localize objects
      • Reduced visual acuity at far  (perceptual accuracy at a distance)
      • Reduced visual acuity at near  (perceptual accuracy up close for reading and other tasks)
      • Accommodative Disorders  (problems with focusing the eyes)
      • Difficulties in visual perception  (are objects where I think they are?)
      • Visual Field loss  (loss of vision in one or more areas)
      • Deficits in visual motor  (eye movement problems)
      • Ocular Motility Disorders Integration  (problems coordinating our eyes with our bodies )
      • Problems with accurate visual information processing

Problems such as these can drastically affect day to day functioning even at the most basic levels. It’s only once such vision problems are addressed that the victim of a brain injury can get the most out of other treatments such as physical, occupational, and cognitive therapies.

Vision Therapy Evaluation For Brain Injury

The evaluation of the patient with brain injury may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Comprehensive eye and vision examination
  • Extended sensorimotor evaluation
  • Higher cerebral function assessment of visual information processing
  • Low vision evaluation
  • Extended visual field evaluation
  • Electrodiagnostic testing

This video series is taken from my keynote speech at the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association conference.

A.M. Barrett, MD, is a cognitive neurologist, specialized in neurorehabilitation, and Director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research.

Still have questions? Read this Q&A With Our Charlotte Vision Therapy Doctor.

Three Main Types Of Vision Loss From Brain Injuries
Three Main Types Of Vision Loss From Brain Injuries

The vision problems highlighted above can be broken down into three main areas of vision problems. Your Developmental Optometrist utilizing Vision Therapy techniques can help with each of these Vision Loss problems:

girl eyes closed

Visual Field Loss

Visual Field Loss

Visual field loss refers to a condition where the patient loses vision in a portion of their field of vision. This can quite literally mean that the patient is blind or impaired in half of the field of vision. This can be dangerous as it often results in walking into objects, falling, and being hit by approaching objects and people.

Treating Visual Field Loss

With Vision Therapy, the patient will undergo visual rehabilitation exercises which teach the brain to relearn how to effectively scan and focus on the impacted fields of vision where the vision loss occurs. This can be a long process, requiring patience and force of will. However, with time and temerity, Vision Therapy is highly effective at correcting and regaining a lost field of vision.

Prism Lenses For Visual (Peripheral) Field Loss

Special visual field awareness prism lenses are used in treating peripheral field loss. As the patient scans into the prism, the optics are shifted so as to perceptually gain about 15 to 20 degrees of visual field recognition. Looking into these prisms, however, results in double-vision (diplopia), so active scanning is done in brief spurts. The lenses are used to sense if there is something in the peripheral vision that needs to be paid attention to. Once spotted, the patient turns their head to view it in detail with their intact central vision.

prism

Double Vision & Brain Injury

Double Vision (Diplopia) & Brain Injury

Diplopia, or, “double-vision” is a very common result of a brain injury. Prisms, special lenses, and Vision Therapy can be used to help the patient achieve fusion (alignment of the eyes) and alleviate the diplopia. If and when these means are not employed, the patient may be able to adapt by suppressing the vision of one eye to eliminate the diplopia. If lenses, prisms, and/or a course of Vision Therapy are not successfully undertaken and applied, the result is often what’s called intractable diplopia.

In this population of patients, patching has frequently been used to eliminate the diplopia. Although patching is effective in eliminating diplopia it causes the patient to become monocular. Monocular vision, as opposed to binocular vision, will affect the individual primarily in two ways; absence of stereopsis and reduction of the peripheral field of vision. These limitations will directly cause problems in eye-hand coordination, depth judgments, orientation, balance, mobility, and activities of daily living such as playing sports, driving, climbing stairs, crossing the street, threading a needle etc.

Vision Therapy, combined with the appropriate lenses and prism use, is the most effective means of treating the diplopia while retaining and improving the visual functions necessary for daily life.

hand palm prism

Visual Balance Disorders

Visual Balance Disorders

Visual balance disorders are conditions where the patient feels dizzy or unsteady. Often, it feels as if the sufferer or the world is spinning or moving even while lying down. Visual balance disorders can be caused by viruses, ear infections, and problems with visual processing. It’s also a frequent problem with patients who have suffered a brain injury. Lenses, prisms, and visual rehabilitation activities through Vision Therapy are highly effective at treating visual balance conditions.

Meet Our Neuro Optometrist
Dr-3.png

Dr. Laura Ashe

Dr. Laura Ashe attended the  Southern College of Optometry where she was awarded the College of Optometrists in Vision Development Vision Therapy Award. After graduating she completed a residency in Pediatrics and Vision Therapy. Dr Ashe's passion for helping kids achieve their best and improving vision beyond 2020, has driven her...
Questions And Answers
Are there any types of brain injuries that cannot be helped by Vision Therapy?

Depending on the severity, the answer is usually no.  Because Vision Therapy is tailored to your specific injury, diagnosis, ability, and desire to learn, our Vision Therapy doctors have seen remarkable success across a wide spectrum of brain injuries including Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Concussion, Cerebral palsy, amongst a slew of others. 

Optometric Management of TBI patients may include
    • Treatment of ocular disease or injury either directly or by co-management with other healthcare professionals.
    • Treatment of the visual dysfunction with lenses, prisms, occlusion, and optometric Vision Therapy.
    • Counseling and education of patient, family, or caregiver about the patient's visual problems, functional implications, goals, prognosis, and management options.
    • Consultation with other professionals involved in the rehabilitation and health care of the patient.
About Our Neuro Optometry Practice

Our vision therapists specialize in neuro-optometric therapy and developmental optometry. We have special training and clinical experience in this area and are able to help those who have vision problems related to brain injury. Neuro-Optometrists understand how specific visual dysfunctions relate to the patient's symptoms and performance. A brain injury or the resulting condition such as the ones listed above can result in serious vision problems, which can have a devastating effect on one's ability to complete basic day-to-day tasks.

The damage can also be cumulative over time. Multiple concussions, even minor ones, can result in serious long-term complications. Our vision therapy practice in Belmont, serves patients from the greater Charlotte area with Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation ― a  specific Vision Therapy program for those who have suffered a brain injury. Using series of custom and personalized exercises, the brain can be retrained to accurately receive, process, and interpret visual signals again. Research has shown that recovery from vision problems is essential to recovery from any brain injury.

We See Patients From

Belmont | Charlotte | Gastonia | Rock Hill | and the state of North Carolina