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Concussions & Vision Problems After a Car Accident

Car Accidents 640×350While a car accident can impact our lives in an instant, its effects on our eyes and vision may not be detected until later.

That’s why it’s important to be aware of the ways a concussion — a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) — caused by a car collision can affect the eyes, and to make an appointment with Dr. Jared Pearson at Vision Source Specialists following even a minor car accident.

If a problem is found, you may benefit from vision therapy, a program designed specifically to rebuild the visual system and help recover visual skills.

How Often Do Concussions and Vision Problems Occur After Collisions?

Everyone knows that concussions cause headaches, but many people aren’t aware of the negative effects a TBI can have on a person’s vision.

Concussions are considered minor TBIs, but this doesn’t mean that the problems associated with concussions are minor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 75% of TBIs are concussions.

Furthermore, 90% of people who suffer concussions after external impacts such as a car accident experience vision problems. Vehicular accidents, serious falls and sports injuries are some of the leading causes of TBIs, including concussions.

The Connection Between Concussions, TBIs and Vision Problems

A concussion or other TBI may disrupt the communication between the eyes and the brain. The sufferer may experience some or all of the following:

  • Double vision
  • Headaches
  • Eye fatigue involving visual activities, such as reading
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of visual field
  • Problems with eye convergence: the inability to point both eyes to the same place at the same time
  • Eye tracking problems
  • Accommodative insufficiency – the inability to focus on near objects

A TBI can also cause a range of eye emergencies that require urgent medical attention, including:

  • Retinal detachment
  • Optical nerve damage
  • Vitreous hemorrhage

This is why it’s so important to have a comprehensive functional eye exam following a car accident to detect any potential eye damage, diagnose vision problems and recommend a course of treatment.

Treating Vision Problems Associated with Concussions or TBIs

To diagnose and treat vision problems following a car accident, it is important to seek out a neuro-optometrist, an eye doctor or who is specially trained to treat eye problems associated with the nervous system.

The neuro-optometrist will examine the patient’s eyes and visual system following a car accident or other type of traumatic brain injury. This eye exam is beyond the standard 20/20 sight test, as it also assesses the accuracy of eye movements and many other visual skills.

If the vision problem is connected to neurological damage or brain injury, the neuro-optometrist will determine the specific visual issues and prescribe an appropriate form of treatment to address the underlying problem.

The eye doctor may prescribe specific glasses, including prism lenses or a program of neuro-optometric rehabilitation, a customized program of in-office and at-home exercises to strengthen the visual system and aid in the patient’s recovery.

If you have been involved in a car accident or may have experienced any type of traumatic brain injury, contact Dr. Jared Pearson at Vision Source Specialists today for an eye exam and a treatment program.

We serve patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jared Pearson

Q: What are the symptoms of retinal detachment?

A: Retinal detachment occurs when the retina becomes separated from its supportive tissue at the back of the eye. Some of the initial signs of a detached retina are:

  • - Seeing spots, floaters and light flashes
  • - Poor and blurry vision
  • - Perceiving a shadowy portion from the top or side of the eye
  • - Reduced peripheral visionIt is estimated that one in seven people who see spots, floaters or flashes of light have a retinal tear or detachment.

It is important to see an eye doctor if you have symptoms because if this condition is left untreated, it can lead to vision loss.

Q: What are some treatments for retinal detachment?

A: To correct retinal detachment, surgery is required to move the retina back into place. The three main types of surgeries are:

  • - Scleral buckling surgery–attaching a small band on the outside of the sclera of the eye to push the retina back into position
  • - Vitrectomy–the fluid or vitreous humor is extracted from the eye and replaced with a silicone gel
  • - Pneumatic retinoplexy–the surgeon injects a gas bubble into the vitreous humor to push the retina into position.

An eye doctor will perform an eye exam to determine which kind of surgery is needed to treat retinal detachment in the case of each patient.

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