Often visual problems resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury are overlooked during initial treatment of the injury. Frequently these problems are hidden and neglected, lengthening and impairing rehabilitation. Vision is the most important source of sensory information. Consisting of a sophisticated complex of subsystems, the visual process involves the flow and processing of information to the brain. Because there is a close relationship between vision and the brain, Traumatic Brain Injury can disrupt the visual process, interfering with the flow and processing of information. The result is a vision problem. Symptoms indicating a vision problem are:
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Reading difficulties; words appear to move
- Comprehension difficulty
- Attention and concentration difficulty
- Memory difficulty
- Double vision
- Aching eyes
- Headaches with visual tasks
- Loss of visual field
Optometry and Rehabilitation
Very few in the health care professions, including head trauma rehabilitation centers, are adequately aware of visual problems resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury and the visual-perception consequences. Unfortunately, this creates a gap in rehabilitative services, resulting in incomplete treatment and frustration for the patient, family and treatment team.
The vision care professional can play an important role in the rehabilitation effort. Through vision therapy and the proper use of lenses, a behavioral or developmental optometrist specifically trained to work with Traumatic Brain Injury patients can help improve the flow and processing of information between the eyes and the brain.