Acquired Brain Injuries (ABIs) include both traumatic brain injuries (e.g. concussions, falls, motor vehicle accidents), and non-traumatic brain injuries (e.g. stroke, lack of oxygen, tumor, aneurysm).

Visual signs and symptoms after ABI can include:

  • Double vision: There are several causes of double vision post-ABI which is why it is so important to be evaluated by an optometrist with advanced training in binocular vision and vision therapy. Any double vision, whether constant or only at times, should be evaluated as soon as possible.
  • Accommodative Insufficiency: It is common to have focusing issues post-ABI, sometimes causing seeing up close to be blurry, or noticing blur when changing focus from near to far.
  • Convergence Insufficiency: This is a common reason after a brain injury or concussion for difficulty focusing or seeing double while reading or looking at things up close. Vision therapy is an effective treatment for this.
  • Light sensitivity: Also called photophobia, the symptom of light sensitivity can happen after concussions and ABIs.
  • Motion sensitivity / dizziness: There are several causes for dizziness and motion sensitivity after an ABI. Changes to the visual system is one of them. An optometrist with advanced training in binocular vision and vision therapy can help identify if vision is contributing to the symptoms.
  • Headaches / eye strain: Headaches, eye strain, and/or pain behind the eyes can happen after an ABI. With these symptoms, it is helpful to have a functional vision assessment to determine if vision is contributing to the symptoms, especially if the pain is worsening with visual tasks like looking at screens or reading.
  • Visual field defects and Visual Inattention (neglect): After a stroke, sometimes people experience loss of a section of their vision. This sometimes improves in the months following, but other times is permanent. The use of prism, lenses, vision therapy, and mobility/occupational therapy can help recalibrate a person’s spatial awareness and balance to adapt to their new vision.
  • Reduced cognitive abilities with visual tasks: These changes, even when small, can be significant for work, school, and sports performance. These include changes to visual perceptual skills like visual memory, visual processing speed and reaction time, visual discrimination (ability to see small detailed differences), and visual figure-ground (ability to pick out the details in visually-busy background).
  • Oculomotor dysfunction: Changes to eye movement control can have a significant impact on many activities of daily living like reading, computer use, balance and walking, sports, and driving.

Following a brain injury, a multi-disciplinary approach for rehabilitation is needed. This means a team of several professionals which may include: optometrists, physiatrists, PCPs, neurologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, ENTs, chiropractors, and other specialists.

A functional visual evaluation at our office will help determine if treatment like special lenses, prism, or in-office vision therapy is needed.