Diagnosing Vision Problems After a Brain Injury

Question: 

I read that 20-40 percent of people with mild TBI have vision problems as a result of their brain injuries. My daughter had a brain injury more than a year ago and she’s had all sorts of physical, behavioral, and learning issues since her brain injury. I’m wondering if some of her challenges, especially in school, could be vision-related. What should I look for and how can I get her help?

Answer: 

The main symptoms to look for in your daughter would be headaches, dizziness, and blurriness. Also, does she close one eye when she does certain tasks? Any of these symptoms can indicate brain injury-related vision dysfunction. That being said, they could also be due to a refractive error since the symptoms are similar. A refractive error is what happens when a person is near or far sighted — vision flaws that can be treated with prescriptive eye glasses.

Since your daughter had a brain injury, it is best to err on the side of caution and get her a full vision examination, most importantly, one that looks at her ocular motor system. The ocular motor system deals with the muscles that attach to the eyes and direct them together or individually. If there is damage to this system because of a TBI, then the process of sending signals from the brain to the eyes is not working.

 

Posted on BrainLine June 8, 2010.

Comments (4)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

I had a car accident in June that gave me vision problems. Will it just take time for them to align on what they see?

Vision Therapy is available and effective for many TBIs with a related vision issues. I am a Vision Therapist (COVT) and work under the direction of a Developmental Optometrist, also referred to as a Behavioral Optometrist. Some offices like ours offer Free Screenings to learn if a full functional vision evaluation is recommended. You can search www.covd.org and look specifically for an FCOVD near you. I sincerely wish everyone the best in their healing process.

I found with my adult son, that after his severe TBI, he could not verbally articulate what he saw thru his sight. He was confused on the terminology and words that described simple concepts such as "blurry" and "double vision". What he ended up doing to describe his symptoms to the neuro-opthalmologist was to draw a picture of what he sees. My son drew two images almost together, that demonstrated his double vision, and then he drew an image with a fuzzy boarder describing his blurred vision. I was so happy that they were able to diagnose the problems then, even though one of the vision problems was not correctable.

Find a doctor who tests for and treats this kind of vision problem at www.covd.org, or www.nora.cc