Vision Therapy for Acquired Brain Injury and Concussion

Vision is frequently affected by an injury or illness, yet commonly overlooked as part of the rehabilitation process.

Stroke, brain injury, concussions, and conditions affecting the nervous system alter the way in which the visual system functions. For this reason, an evaluation of visual system performance is an important aspect in the development of a comprehensive rehabilitation plan.

Following a comprehensive evaluation of visual system performance, vision therapy may be prescribed as part of the overall rehabilitative therapy plan for both acquired brain injury or concussions. A rehabilitative therapy plan may also include physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

Vision therapy, also known as neuro-optometric rehabilitation, has been scientifically proven to improve functional vision skills. We offer a research-based regimen of individually prescribed treatment activities to develop visual skills and visual processing. 

Each vision therapy program is tailored to the individual and their specific needs. The frequency of sessions, specific combinations of therapy activities, and the duration of treatment depends on the severity of the diagnosis, patient compliance, and overall health. The length of a vision therapy program can range from several weeks to several months, and is supervised and monitored by our residency-trained neuro-optometrist.

People who have experienced brain injuries and people who have experienced concussions have different symptoms and difficulties, as well as different visual therapy needs. 

First, let’s look at how an acquired brain injury can affect you and how vision therapy can help.


Vision Therapy and Acquired Brain Injuries

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An acquired brain injury can affect everything - from employment, to driving, to basic daily living activities.

One of the reasons is that the visual system is commonly affected following an acquired brain injury (concussion, trauma, stroke, etc); or as part of a neurological condition (Parkinson's Disease, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, etc).

Changes to the visual system can result in:

  • blurred vision
  • double vision
  • visual discomfort
  • headaches
  • poor depth perception
  • balance difficulties
  • changes in peripheral (side) vision
  • limited ability to perform visual tasks (reading, driving, computer use, etc).

Early diagnosis and treatment of these vision conditions is a critical component of overall recovery.

Lingering vision conditions impede rehabilitation therapies (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc) as well as prolong the return to normal daily activities.

Sometimes, the eye itself is injured during the head injury. There can also be medical conditions that aren’t related to TBI. These include cataracts or glaucoma. Other vision problems occur due to damage to the wiring in the brain.


Vision Therapy and Concussions

girl holding up help sign

As many as 3.6 million concussions are reported annually as the result of home or workplace injuries, automobile accidents, and sports injuries. Concussions can cause a variety of vision related symptoms, some of which can be either temporary or long-lasting. 

The most common vision problems following a concussion include:

BINOCULAR VISION DYSFUNCTION: This is the inability to use the two eyes together, and contributes to dizziness, headaches, and the inability to sustain focus. Undiagnosed, mis-diagnosed, or untreated binocular vision dysfunction conditions can impede progress in rehabilitative therapies with both occupational and physical therapists.

DIZZINESS / BALANCE / VERTIGO: Vestibular, proprioceptive, and visual information are seamlessly integrated. A concussion, however, can prevent proper integration - which in turn can result in a plateau with occupational and physical therapy and vestibular rehabilitation.

EYE TEAMING DEFICITS: This can cause double vision, difficulty reading, eye pain, headaches, poor depth perception, poor reading comprehension.

EYE TRACKING DEFICITS: This can cause difficulty with eye-hand coordination, losing place while reading, skipping words when reading. 

HEADACHES / MIGRAINES: Concussion-related vision disorders are often associated with headaches, which are common when reading, using a computer, or exposure to visual stimuli.

PERIPHERAL VISION PROBLEMS (overactive or underactive): This can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea in visually stimulating environments, motion sensitivity, reduced visual field, feeling overwhelmed in crowded environments.

READING PROBLEMS: Concussions affect the visual system, impacting both reading abilities as well as how long the reading process can be sustained. It is often difficult to control eye coordination, which decreases reading comprehension.


We Can Help

At Advanced Vision Therapy Center we've been successfully treating post-concussion vision disorders since 1991 - earning the reputation as the Northwest's premiere vision therapy clinic.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from vision problems following a concussion please call to schedule an appointment. We're here and ready to help.

Additionally, Dr. Ryan C. Johnson is a residency-trained neuro-optometrist. He specializes in providing assessment and treatment of vision problems associated with acquired brain injury.

Whether you or your loved ones are dealing with an acquired brain injury or a concussion, we can help. We’re always accepting new patients and we’re in-network with most insurances.

To schedule an appointment please give us a call.

Posted by avtadmin at 11/30/2021 10:41:00 AM
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Advanced Vision Therapy Center is Idaho’s premier clinic for Vision Therapy, Neuro-Optometric Vision Rehabilitation and Sports Vision Training. We offer vision assessments and customized treatment for both children and adults that are tailored to the specific vision condition of each individual.

Not sure which type of vision assessment is right for you? Call us today and we'll help you determine the best assessment to achieve your visual goals.

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