How does a TBI affect vision?
Vision is the most important source of sensory information. Consisting of a sophisticated complex of subsystems, the visual process involves the flow and processing of information from the eyes and body to the brain.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI), including a concussion, stroke, or sports-related head injury, can disrupt the visual system, causing a multitude of various disruptions to the visual system.
An eye doctor with experience in neuro-optometric rehabilitation has gained specific training in the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems caused by TBIs.
Below are brief descriptions of the most common visual consequences of a TBI:
- Hemianopsia– Visual field loss
- Binocular vision difficulties– Uncoordinated eye movements
- Accommodative dysfunction– Focusing difficulties
- Convergence insufficiency– Difficulty moving visual fixation inward toward the nose
- Ambient vision function– Confusion in a busy visual environment, such as the mall or supermarket
- Spatial disorientation– Difficulty organizing visually presented material
- Ocular motor dysfunction– Inaccurate pursuit, or saccadic eye movements
- Diplopia– Double vision
- Poor visual concentration or poor visual attention
- Asthenopia– Eyestrain
- Visual distortion– Objects appear to move or distort in shape
- Headaches when reading or during other visually directed tasks- Usually frontal, or temporal
- Blurred vision– Both distant and/or near, and may be intermittent or constant
- Squinting or facial grimacing during visual tasks
- Photophobia– Light sensitivity
- Loss of place when reading– Omitting words, re-reading words
- Loss of visual awareness– One or both sides
- Visual memory problems– Inability to remember what was just read
- Nystagmus– Rapid oscillating side to side eye movements
- Poorly centered standing balance– Weight shift and/or loss of balance laterally; forward (flexion) or backwards (extension)
- Depth perception problems– Inability to judge spatial distances
- Inaccurate eye-hand/eye-foot coordination – Inability to accurately coordinate when reaching or walking
- Slow reaction time to visual stimuli – Poor visual attention
- Visual-perceptual problems – Inability to recognize faces, words or shapes
- Dizziness/visual-vestibular dysfunction – Poor balance
- Ptosis – Droopy eyelid
- Blepharoparesis – An eyelid which does not blink well or doesn’t close fully