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?
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.
Dr. Goodrich received his PhD in Experimental Psychology in 1974 from Washington State University. His career with the US Department of Veterans Affairs began in 1974 and he is currently supervisory research psychologist (Psychology Service) assigned to the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center.