What is a Concussion?
Concussions should never be taken lightly. And often times a person may not even know that they have suffered from a concussion. Dr. Bryce Appelbaum discusses below some common overlooked symptoms of a concussion.
Concussions are a form of brain injury caused by a collision between the brain and the skull or a strain on the neural tissue and vasculature. This trauma to the head elicits a wave of structural and functional changes that damage the already fragile connections responsible for thinking, moving, and processing visual information. And while even a sudden jolting or whiplash can cause a concussion without a direct blow to the head or body, we know that any level of head injury (minor or major) can disrupt many aspects of vision.
Awareness of concussion and the medical community’s evolving knowledge of this specific form of brain damage has dramatically risen over the years. Not only are professional and amateur athletes now having to sit out for significantly longer before returning back to play, but the incidence of concussions is on an alarming incline.
All concussions are considered brain injuries and should be taken seriously. Our mission is to maximize your recovery and help prevent the consequences of concussions that can lead to serious limitations in life.
How do concussions affect vision?
Research suggests over 50% of patients with concussion or post-concussion syndrome have visual problems. Since vision is so pervasive throughout the brain and represented in every lobe, it’s more likely than not that vision will be impacted by a brain injury. When this is the case, the simplest tasks become daunting and activities of daily living are disrupted. Improving quality of life and recovering these visual abilities after a concussion requires re-establishing brain function.
The concussed brain needs to learn how to coordinate, integrate, and filter information from all of the senses. Vision should be the dominant learning sense and the sense that ties together all of these systems to derive meaning from our world and direct the appropriate action.
What are common symptoms of a concussion?
Some symptoms may arise right away after the injury, while others may not show up for days or even longer. Symptoms of a concussion vary from person to person, as no two head injuries are the same.
The most common symptoms include:
- Blurred Vision
- Double Vision
- Reading Problems
- Impaired Memory
- Eye Fatigue
- Light &/or Noise Sensitivity
- Motion Sickness
- Anxiety or Depression
- Balance Problems
- Sleep Disturbances
- Poor Concentration
- Sensory Overload in Corwded/Busy Places
What are common vision problems that arise from a concussion?
The most common visual diagnoses following a concussion and often associated with Post Concussion Syndrome are:
- Binocular Dysfunction
- Convergence Insufficiency
- Accomodative Dysfunction
- Oculomotor Dysfunction
- Convergence Excess
- Visual-Vestibular Integration Dysfunction
- Visual-Processing/Perceptual Disorder
Most disorders of the visual systems following head trauma are highly treatable if in fact they are identified. Treatment should be initiated as soon as possible if a problem is suspected in an effort to return to life as soon as possible. Treatment may include specialized glasses for reading or computer work, specially tinted lenses to reduce light sensitivity, and/or an individualized program of Neuro-Optometric Vision Rehabilitation.
Without the appropriate treatment, visual problems likely will limit the opportunity to reach a full recovery. Set up a discovery call with a member of our team to determine the next steps, schedule an in person examination near you, and meet with our vision rehabilitation team to get on the path of recovery today!