What is a Concussion (mTBI)

It is estimated that 4-5 million concussions occur annually, making a concussion the most common type of traumatic brain injury.  Concussions are classified as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) due to the damage that occurs within the brain.

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 than previously thought.  The majority of concussions result by blunt trauma, or a blow to the head.  In children, the most common cause of concussions is sports, specifically contact sports such as football, soccer, lacrosse, and hockey.  Concussions can also be caused by violent shaking of the head or upper body, so direct contact in the form of a "bump of the head" or "getting your bell rung" is not required to cause a concussion.  In adults, motor vehicle accidents and falls are the most common causes of concussions.

Concussion Facts
Fewer than 10% of sports-related concussions have associated loss of consciousness.

A review article published in Pediatrics in 2010 has helped to dispel the myth that a loss of consciousness, or “blacking out”, is a required component of a concussion.

Having had one concussion makes you more susceptible to another

The increased risk of repeat concussions is one of the several reasons why the decision to return to play should be made with the athlete’s health care team.

Car accidents and falls are the most common cause of concussions in adults

Seemingly mild “bumps on the head” can have drastic neurological effects.  These neurological effects can in turn affect the visual system, making daily tasks such as reading or driving extremely difficult (if not impossible).

Symptoms of a Concussion
There are several symptoms of a concussion.  Some are physical symptoms (such as a headache or vision problems), while others are cognitive (feeling in a fog or visual perceptual challenges), others are emotional, and others can affect sleep.  The multitude and variability of concussion symptoms make medical evaluation very important following a concussion.
Concussion Symptoms at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho
Concussion (mTBI)

67% of the neural connections within the brain are involved with some aspect of vision, whether it is visual input, visual perception, or visual integration.  With so many of the connections within the brain involved with the process of vision, it is no wonder that vision problems are so common following an acquired brain injury.

There are several potential visual side effects of a concussion that are consistent with other forms of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).  Some of these may improve with time, others may be unchanging, while others respond very well to active treatment.

Concussions can have the following effects on the visual system:

Accommodative Insufficiency – This condition is a reduction in eye focusing ability that results in blurry vision at near, even in young athletes.  Near vision may be constantly blurry or may pulse in and out of clarity during near activities like reading.

Blurry Vision - Blurry vision following a concussion can occur at distance, near, or both.

Convergence Insufficiency – This inability to use the eyes comfortably at near can result in a number of symptoms including: headaches, eyestrain, fatigue, or even double vision during near activities.

Double Vision – There are several causes of double vision, which is why anyone who sees double (even intermittently) should be evaluated by an optometrist with advanced training in neuro-optometry, binocular vision, and vision therapy.

Light Sensitivity – Photophobia, or light sensitivity, can result from various types of acquired brain injuries (including concussions).

Ocular-Motor Dysfunction – Deficiencies in eye movement abilities are quite common following concussions and other forms of mild traumatic brain injuries.  These eye movement deficits can pose challenges with many activities of daily life, including reading and driving.

Reduced Cognitive Abilities With Visual Tasks - Visual perceptual deficits can be caused by concussions and have dramatic effects on academic and even athletic success.

Reduced Visual Processing Speed or Reaction Time – Prolonged visual processing speed can slow down a person during their daily activities.  The speed with which one processes visual information affects performance during tasks that require precise timing (such as driving).  Poor visual processing speed also poses a challenge when attempting to return to the work environment.

Concussion Management: The Visual Component

Many of the visual conditions that result from a concussion can be successfully managed by a doctor with both knowledge and experience in the areas of neuro-optometry, binocular vision, and vision therapy.

Following a Neuro-Optometric Assessment, our residency-trained neuro-optometrist will determine if glasses, contact lenses, vision therapy, or a combination of treatments is best to address your visual conditions.

The good news is that some of the most common visual effects of mild traumatic brain injury (accommodative insufficiency, convergence insufficiency, and ocular motor dysfunction) are all conditions that respond to vision therapy.

Advanced Vision Therapy Center works as part of a multidisciplinary team to help people from Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Eagle, Kuna, Mountain Home, and the rest of Idaho.


Call 208.377.1310 to schedule your Neuro-Optometric Assessment with Advanced Vision Therapy Center

Improvement Starts Here

With over 25 years of proven success, you can trust Advanced Vision Therapy Center to provide the care you need.

Our Clinical Director is Idaho's only residency trained optometrist in vision therapy and neuro-optometry and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.  His residency at University of California, Berkeley means he has the expertise and experience to treat even the most complex cases.

Read what our patients have to say.

Blog
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Contact Us

7960 W. Rifleman Street, #155
Boise , Idaho , 83704 USA
Phone:  208-377-1310
Fax:  208-321-1952