It is estimated that 4-5 million concussions occur annually, making concussions the most common type of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that changes the way your brain functions. The vast majority of concussions do NOT result in a loss of consciousness, making diagnosis more challenging. The majority of concussions result by blunt trauma, or a blow to the head. In children, the most common cause of concussions is sports induced. Recreation and sports with high levels of contact especially have higher cases of concussions, including hockey, football, and lacrosse. But for adults, motor vehicle accidents and falls are the most common causes of concussions.
Concussions can have many different symptoms including those that are physical or cognitive. Physical symptoms can include having vision problems or even a headache. But the symptoms don’t stop there, cognitive symptoms can include being overly emotional, trouble sleeping, feeling in a fog, or having visual perceptual challenges. Some of these may improve with time, others may be unchanging, while others respond very well to active treatment. Due to the variety of symptoms for concussions, medical evaluations are imperative after the incident.
Visual Harm from Concussions
Did you know that 67% of the neural connections within the brain are involved with some aspect of vision? This can include visual input, visual perception, or visual integration. Due to how involved vision is with the brain, it is evident there can be vision problems after a brain injury.
Some of these may improve with time, others may be unchanging, while others respond very well to active treatment.
Potential Visual Effects after Concussions
- Double Vision: When you see double (even intermittently), you should be evaluated by a medical professional immediately.
- Blurry Vision: Blurry vision following a concussion can occur at a distance, near, or both.
- Light Sensitivity: Also known as Photophobia can result from various types of acquired brain injuries, including concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
- Ocular-Motor Dysfunction: Deficiencies in eye movement abilities are quite common and these eye movement deficits can pose challenges with many activities of daily life, including activities like driving.
- Accommodative Insufficiency: This condition is a reduction in the eye’s ability to focus. It results in blurry vision close up. Close up vision may be constantly blurry or may pulse in and out of clarity during activities like reading.
- Convergence Insufficiency: This inability to use the eyes comfortably at close range. It can lead to a series of symptoms like eye fatigue, eyestrain, headaches, or even double vision.
- Reduced Cognitive Abilities With Visual Tasks: Visual perceptual deficits can be caused by concussions and have dramatic effects on academic, athletic, and day-to-day success.
- Reduced Visual Processing Speed or Reaction Time: Prolonged visual processing speed can slow down an athlete both on and off the field. The speed with which an athlete processes visual information affects many aspects of athletic competition, including: reading the field of play, judging the speed of a moving ball or puck, and judging the speed of other players on the field.
Performance Vision Training for Concussion Management
Many of the visual conditions that result from a concussion or TBI can be successfully managed by a doctor with both knowledge and experience in the areas of neuro-optometry and vision therapy. Our team at the Performance Vision Training Center of Vision Source Specialists, are trained in evaluations for vision therapy and rehabilitation of the patient. Vision-based assessments can help those who have suffered from a concussion or traumatic brain injury areas that need to be improved upon and also be used to assess predictions for future injury risks. For more information on assessing your vision for concussion management, contact the Performance Vision Training Center today.