What is Neuro-Rehabilitation?
Acquired brain injuries (strokes, multiple sclerosis, tumor) and traumatic brain injuries (whiplash, concussion, trauma) can cause a whole host of visual symptoms. The cells in the brain that interpret vision and control eye movements are distributed throughout the entire brain, with complex connections to other parts of the brain monitoring hearing and balance, and directing speech and movement. Because of this interconnected “web” of vision in our brains, an injury in nearly any part of the brain will cause some on vision. An estimated 50-90% of people who have sustained a brain injury will have some type of visual complication.
Common symptoms include:
-Difficulty maintaining focus on an object
-Inaccurate eye movements, causing problems reading, scanning or tracking
-Difficulty switching vision between distance and near
-Blurred vision, especially at near
-Nausea or “visual motion”
-Depth perception problems
Some symptoms will not present until days or weeks after a brain injury. A regular eye exam may not completely identify the visual defects present. An optometrist trained in neuro-rehabilitation can help by evaluating the potential visual deficits present and treat these symptoms by using specialized lenses, prisms, tints and vision therapy to improve acute symptoms and help restore normal visual function. Treatment of brain injury symptoms requires a multi-disciplinary effort and a neuro-optometrist has an important role in providing vision evaluation and rehabilitation.