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Neuro Optometry

TBIs Can Be Caused by Even the Mildest of Head Injuries

TBIs Can Be Caused by Even the Mildest of Head InjuriesTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain. Most are caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head. Even a mild TBI, such as a mild concussion, can interfere with the healthy functioning of the brain’s visual pathways, causing a disruption in the way the brain and eyes communicate and a host of visual dysfunctions.

In fact, studies show that 90% of TBI patients experience some form of vision disruption, which may result in long-term, life-altering consequences, such as blurred vision, visual field loss, reading problems, among others. They may also cause the person to be identified as dyslexic or having attention deficit disorder (ADD), and may present as spatial dysfunctions affecting posture and balance.

Most brain injuries are caused by motor accidents, blasts due to explosions, falls, physical abuse, or sports-related injuries. It’s often difficult to assess the severity of the impact an injury can have on the brain, as minor head injuries may at times cause abundant cranial bleeding, while major injuries may not bleed at all. Though the initial incident may be very painful, most of the symptoms of TBI may appear sometime after the injury and not at the time of initial impact.

TBIs and related visual symptoms must be taken seriously. If you sustained even a mild head injury but feel like you have a reason for concern, consult Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes, who will assess your vision and help determine the right course of treatment for your condition to prevent potential long-term damage.

How Common Are TBIs?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 13.5 million individuals live with a disability caused by traumatic brain injury in the U.S. alone. Approximately 47% of traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls, particularly among young children, young men, and men and women over age 65. Fortunately, most TBIs (commonly called concussions), are mild.

How Does a TBI Affect Vision?

Since more areas of the brain are used to process vision than any other system, traumatic brain injuries often cause visual problems. Such injuries can disrupt the communication between the brain and the visual system and interfere with the processing of visual information, leading to blurred vision, reading difficulties, sensitivity to light, and double vision, among other symptoms.

Visual problems tend to be overlooked during the initial treatment of brain injury, especially with mild TBIs such as a concussion or whiplash. Furthermore, a regular eye exam often fails to reveal the extent to which the visual process has been affected since the vision complications that develop are not related to visual acuity (20/20), but rather to eye teaming, focusing, and tracking.

If you are experiencing post-concussion visual symptoms, there is always the risk that they will worsen over time. Some patients notice visual problems only while experiencing an additional stressor such as illness, family or work stress, or when there is a disruption to normal routines.

A Neuro-Optometric Assessment with Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes can determine both the severity of the impact of a TBI on your visual system, and the treatment required for your recovery.

What Treatment Can a Neuro-Optometrist Offer?

If you’ve sustained a TBI, Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes offers Neuro-Optometric Vision Rehabilitation, an individualized treatment regimen to rehabilitate the connection between the brain and the eyes and the visual system. This therapy can minimize or even eliminate TBI-related visual symptoms weeks, months, or even years after the injury.


Contact Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric if you have any questions, or to schedule a Neuro-Optometric Assessment. We serve patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, and Elk Grove, all throughout California .

References:

Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Harm the Visual System — And Self Esteem

Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Harm the Visual System And Self EsteemA traumatic brain injury (TBI) can harm vital communication between the brain and the visual system, bringing on disabling symptoms. People trying to deal with these symptoms may experience depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

They may no longer be able to perform tasks as they once did. After a concussion or more severe TBI, one may experience recurring headaches that necessitate frequent breaks while working or studying, reducing productivity. Or chronic dizziness from a blow to the head could prevent a person from driving, making them dependent on others. A child who’s suffered a TBI may be unable to participate in group sports or activities, making them feel “alone” or “different.”

That’s where we come in. If you or a loved one has suffered even a mild TBI, speak with Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes about having your visual system assessed during a functional vision evaluation to determine if something can be done to ease your symptoms.

Signs of Emotional Distress Following a TBI

The struggle to read a book or catch a ball due to double vision or eye tracking problems can be demoralizing. A post-TBI patient could experience lowered self-esteem or depression. Be alert for these signs:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Lack of interest in personal hygiene or appearance
  • Negative self-talk
  • Lack of motivation
  • Being irritable or moody
  • Reduced or lack of appetite

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

It can be discouraging to hear from other health professionals that there’s nothing to be done for lingering TBI symptoms. Fortunately, neuro-optometrists can help post-TBI patients in ways that few other health care providers can.

Neuro-optometry deals with the visual system and how it impacts daily functioning. By training the brain to more effectively communicate and control the eyes, symptoms like dizziness, headache, and nausea can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

Eradicating these debilitating symptoms can be life-changing and allow you to go back to doing what you love. Children may once again be able to play with their friends on the soccer field or basketball court. Adults may become more interested in socializing and exercising, and become more productive at work. Resuming these activities can boost self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.

At Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric, we know all too well the challenges that accompany a traumatic brain injury and how it can affect self-esteem. To schedule a functional visual evaluation and determine if a problem with the visual system is contributing to your post-TBI symptoms, call Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric today.

Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

REFERENCES

 

Prism Glasses for Post-Concussion Patients

Concussions Can Affect the Visual System

Prism Glasses for Post Concussion PatientsConcussions are brain injuries resulting from physical trauma, such as a car accident, a fall, or a collision while playing sports. Left untreated, they can adversely affect one’s health for months or years to come. Because the visual system relies on the brain, a concussion can cause:

  • blurred vision
  • double vision
  • eyes misaligned while focusing
  • sensitivity to light
  • depth-perception problems
  • headaches
  • vertigo
  • balance problems
  • eyestrain
  • difficulty reading

People who experience a concussion often sustain other injuries, so medical professionals may initially overlook visual problems. Fortunately, when these problems arise, vision therapy can help.

Prisms Aid in Vision Therapy

If you’ve suffered a concussion, Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes will ask about your visual symptoms post-concussion and how your daily routine is affected. Then Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for severe optical consequences like retinal detachment or traumatic uveitis, and will evaluate your depth perception, binocular vision, and ability to focus.

Vision therapy for a concussion often includes the wearing of eyeglasses with prisms, which compensate for any changes to the visual system caused by the concussion. Prisms address spatial challenges — such as posture, depth perception, coordination, and balance — by shifting the perceived position of objects and adjusting part of the person’s visual field. You should begin to notice improvement while wearing prism eyeglasses during therapeutic exercises like walking in a corridor, taking heel-to-toe steps, and reading. If the concussion’s visual effects are more severe, Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes will prescribe prism eyeglasses for your daily use.

Prisms’ effects are real. One study found that prisms led to a 71.8 percent reduction of headache, dizziness, and anxiety symptoms in some patients with traumatic brain injury. That study also found that the use of prisms allows other post-concussion therapies — physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medication — to work more effectively.

That means a better quality of life.

 

 

At Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric, Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes uses prisms for post-concussion patients in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

References:

How Vision and the Brain Work Together

How Vision and the Brain Work Together 640There’s more to a healthy vision than meets the eye. While it’s true that functional visual skills depend on healthy eyes, a healthy brain is equally important. The human visual system has three components: the eyes, the visual cortex, and the connecting pathways between the two. When communication between the eyes and brain is disrupted, such as after a brain injury or stroke, the patient is often left with visual symptoms that can interfere with day-to-day tasks. Even the mildest forms of TBI, where there is no concussion, can harm this communication. That’s where neuro-optometry comes into play.

What Is Neuro-Optometry?

Neuro-optometry treats vision-related symptoms at their source — the brain. By strengthening the eye-brain connection, neuro-optometrists can treat a multitude of symptoms and conditions caused by neurological diseases, congenital or metabolic conditions, and trauma.

Services offered by neuro-optometrists include:

  • Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy
  • Visual processing assessments
  • Extensive functional visual evaluations
  • Eye health examinations

A functional visual evaluation with Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes will assess:

  • How well the eyes work together
  • Eye-tracking
  • Visual memory
  • How vision is integrated with balance and coordination
  • Ability to focus and aim

Who Could Benefit From Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Brain injuries and other neurological conditions can affect multiple parts of the body, so patients and physicians may overlook problems in the visual system due to more pressing concerns. This is why a consultation with a neuro-optometrist is crucial.

Patients with any of the following conditions are urged to visit a neuro-optometrist for a complete evaluation:

  • Traumatic brain injury – (even a minor concussion)
  • Stroke
  • Chronic brain inflammation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Balance and mobility issues
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Any condition that affects the nervous system
  • Post traumatic vision syndrome
  • Light sensitivity
  • Visual midline shift syndrome
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Autism

The above conditions can impair any of the following visual skills:

  • Eye-tracking
  • Eye teaming
  • Eye movement
  • Visual perceptual
  • Focusing

Individuals who experience the following visual symptoms may also benefit from a consultation with a neuro-optometrist:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Reduced cognitive abilities related to visual tasks

Treatment typically involves specialized lenses and/or in-office neuro-optometric rehabilitation exercises that are tailored to each patient’s visual needs. Just as with other forms of therapy, an interdisciplinary approach, with cooperation from other health-care providers, is often required to facilitate a complete recovery from a neurological event.

Feel free to contact us with any further questions you may have. Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout Sacramento.

 

Nystagmus — Is That a Super Villain or Something?

close up photo of a clown 2970498Although the word “Nystagmus” sounds like something out of a comic book, it actually refers to a condition characterized by repetitive involuntary eye movements. The eyes may move from side to side, up and down, or in circular motions. Those affected by nystagmus will often experience reduced vision and difficulty with depth perception, balance, and coordination due to the unstable vision. At Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric, we treat a wide range of eye conditions— including nystagmus—with our neuro-optometric rehabilitation program.

Types of Nystagmus

Congenital Nystagmus

Nystagmus can begin in infancy, affecting babies as young as 2 or 3 months of age. With infantile nystagmus, the eye movements tend to be horizontal. In many cases, no treatment is required and the condition will fade on its own.

Spasmus Nutans

This form of nystagmus develops in children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years and will likely improve without any medical intervention by age 8. Children affected by this type of nystagmus will exhibit eye movements in any direction, and may tilt or nod their heads to compensate for the unstable vision.

Acquired

Acquired nystagmus develops later on in childhood or adulthood and is often associated with problems in the central nervous system or metabolic disorders.

What Can Cause Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is generally caused by a neurological problem but can also be a symptom of another disease or condition. Additionally, several factors can worsen the condition, such as stress and fatigue.

Other causes include:

  • Albinism
  • Very high myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism
  • Underdeveloped eye movement control
  • Inner ear inflammation
  • Certain medications
  • Congenital cataracts

Nystagmus Treatments

In rare cases of nystagmus, surgery may aid in improving vision by changing the position of the eye muscles that control their movement.

A more holistic approach to treating nystagmus is through neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. Recent research has shown that this specialized form of vision therapy improves visual function in most patients with nystagmus. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy refines and improves visual skills by strengthening the brain’s control over the eyes, thereby treating the problem at its source.

Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric offers the latest in neuro-optometric rehabilitation and treats patients with several forms of visual disorders, including nystagmus. If you or a loved one are affected by this eye condition, speak with Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes to learn how we can help.

Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

 

Is It Normal To Have Long-Lasting Symptoms After A Head Injury?

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair 897817Perhaps you can relate to one of these scenarios:

After sustaining a mild head injury in a car accident, you now have trouble focusing any time you try to read. You can’t concentrate and feel the need to shut or cover your eyes to find some relief.

Or maybe your child fell and took a blow to the head while playing sports and has complained of headaches ever since. Traditional headache remedies just aren’t effective, and your primary care doctor assures you that no obvious brain damage has occurred and that the headaches will resolve shortly — but they persist.

For the estimated 1.5 million Americans who suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) every year, these scenarios are typical of post-TBI struggles. Concussions and other forms of TBI can seriously impact lives by generating long-lasting symptoms. Fortunately, a neuro-optometrist can provide a crucial component to the healing process with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

If you or a loved one has suffered even a mild TBI, call Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric to schedule a functional visual evaluation and determine if you can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

What Types of Symptoms Follow a Head Injury?

The brain controls much of what goes on in our bodies, so it’s no surprise that a TBI can produce a wide range of symptoms. Below we’ll discuss the most common symptoms and how we can help treat them.

Visual Difficulties

Approximately 90% of all TBIs result in some degree of visual dysfunction. When theeye-brain connection is disrupted, a decrease in visual ability results. Some visual difficulties that may follow a TBI include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Convergence insufficiency — the inability of the eyes to focus on a near object
  • Binocular vision disorder — eye turn or lazy eye
  • Problems with eye-tracking or eye-teaming
  • Difficulty reading or often losing your place while reading
  • Color contrast issues
  • Peripheral vision defects
  • Eye strain or tired eyes
  • Decreased visual acuity

Headaches and Migraines

In many cases, headaches, including migraines, can be caused by a visual dysfunction. Following a TBI, the ocular muscles will need to exert extra effort to compensate for trauma to the visual system. This additional effort can lead to eye strain.and cause pain in the temples and forehead similar to —and often mistaken for— a tension headache or migraine. Correcting the visual problem will, in many cases, alleviate the intensity and frequency of headaches, or eliminate them entirely.

Dizziness and Balance Problems

The eyes provide the brain with vital information regarding balance and coordination, so when the eye-brain connection is affected you may feel off-balance. This is especially true when a binocular vision disorder is present. Even the slightest misalignment of the eyes can make you feel dizzy, light-headed, or lose balance. Small degrees of misalignment can often be overlooked during routine eye exams, making it all the more important to see a neuro-optometrist in the presence of symptoms.

Concentration

Another possible after-effect of a concussion or other TBI is difficulty concentrating, especially when reading. It may be challenging to keep your place on the page or smoothly navigate along a sentence without having to stop and close your eyes momentarily for relief. Other potential challenges include problems with comprehension, memory difficulties, or trouble with multitasking.

Is It Normal To Have Long-Lasting Symptoms After A Head Injury? generic from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

How A Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists are Doctors of Optometry (OD) who’ve been through postgraduate training to assess and treat visual disorders related to TBI and other similar conditions. The goal of neuro-optometric rehabilitation is to retrain the eyes and brain to work in unison and regain clear and comfortable vision by using specific visual exercises. Just as with any other rehabilitation therapy, the earlier one starts the rehabilitation program following a TBI, the higher the chance of recovering lost visual skills.

Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric provides neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy and other services to patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

https://www.theraspecs.com/blog/long-term-effects-of-moderate-severe-traumatic-brain-injuries-tbi/

https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/traumatic-brain-injury-visual-disorders-what-every-2

http://uwmsktc.washington.edu/sites/uwmsktc/files/files/TBI_cognitive.pdf

 

Dizziness and Balance: How Vision Plays a Vital Role

dizzyImagine trying to navigate a grocery store when, all of a sudden, a dizzy spell hits. The room starts to spin and you lose your balance. You struggle to stand up straight, your vision becomes blurred and orienting yourself in your surroundings becomes insurmountable. To those with vertigo and balance problems, performing simple daily tasks — such as grocery shopping — can feel defeating.

Maintaining proper balance is complex and relies on the collective, healthy functioning of three separate systems: the inner ear, muscle-joint feedback, and vision. Ongoing research suggests that there may be a relationship between a heightened risk of falling and poor vision.

If you experience frequent dizzy spells and difficulty maintaining your balance, make an appointment with [tokensname=’SpDoctorVT’] to rule out any visual dysfunction that could be at the root of the problem.

How Does Vision Affect Balance and Dizziness?

A good sense of balance depends on your ability to see where you are in relation to your surroundings as well as where certain key body parts are in relation to the rest of the body. This information is received by receptors in the muscles and joints but also implicates vision.

The most important visual skill needed to maintain balance is binocular vision, which is the eyes’ ability to work together in creating a clear and unified view of the world around you. The visual system helps regulate the other systems involved in maintaining balance, this means that any defect in the visual system can lead to frequent falls and a balance disorder.

Visual dysfunctions that cause blurred or double vision are common in balance disorders, but can also be its root cause. By improving your vision functionality, you could significantly improve balance and diminish the frequency of dizzy spells.

We Treat Visual Dysfunctions To Improve Balance and Reduce Dizziness

To get to the root of the condition and to assess its connection with vision, Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes will evaluate a wide range of visual skills, such as oculomotor skills, eye teaming and tracking, focusing, visual processing, and how well the brain interprets visual information.

If a visual dysfunction is detected, a fully customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation program will be provided to treat the visual components contributing to the balance disorder. With the patient’s participation and diligence, the visual skills and abilities can be improved over time.

What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, a form of vision therapy, enables those suffering from visual problems to retrain the brain and eyes to regain functionality and quality of life. This therapy uses a variety of methods and techniques to train both eyes to work as a team. It is made up of individualized exercises, which, when done over a period of time rehabilitate visual, perceptual and motor disorders, thus helping the patient regain balance. This effectively reduces or resolves symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and lack of balance.

The neuro-optometric rehabilitation program offered at Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric can help detect and treat the underlying vision problem causing your dizziness and balance issues.

If you’ve tried other types of therapies and still experience dizziness and balance problems, it’s time to see what Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes can do for you. Start your journey to recovery by calling Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric and schedule your appointment today.

Dizziness and Balance: How Vision Plays A Vital Role from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Football Trivia: How Can An Eye Doctor Help Athletes After a Head Injury?

football player holding football 159515Did you know that according to the National Football League’s (NFL) injury data, NFL athletes sustain a combined total of 200-300 concussions per year? Any high-impact sport places the player at high risk for potential brain injury, which can affect other areas and functions of the body – such as vision. Neuro-optometrists can help facilitate healing after a concussion and other brain injuries to help patients regain lost visual abilities and skills.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is the mildest form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can occur following a forceful impact to the head. In many cases, a concussion doesn’t necessarily lead to unconsciousness or lost vision, but it may result in other symptoms, such as:

  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sluggish feeling
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Headache
  • Balance problems

Symptoms range in severity, depending on the degree of injury and impact. However, studies show that 90% of all concussions result in some form of visual dysfunction.

How Can Concussions Affect Vision?

Those having suffered a concussion may experience a host of visual disturbances, such as blurred or double vision, eyestrain, or problems with reading. Issues with eye coordination or eye-teaming may also develop, as the eyes become misaligned following head trauma. This can cause both visual and cognitive problems, such as difficulty thinking, mood swings, frustration, attention deficits, headaches, and memory issues.

If you or a loved one is faced with a concussion or displays any of the above symptoms following a head injury, it’s important to call Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric for a complete assessment of visual function to regain any lost visual skills and abilities.

How Neuro-Optometrists Treat Sports-Related Injuries

Neuro-optometrists are uniquely trained to diagnose and treat visual aberrations related to concussions. It’s important to note that not all optometrists are trained in this specific area, so it’s best to choose a doctor experienced in treating those with concussions or other traumatic brain injuries.

The neuro-optometrist will begin by assessing your ocular health and evaluating your visual skills, such as eye teaming, focusing, tracking, and depth perception. The diagnostic process follows standardized criteria, after which you will be provided with a personalized treatment plan. This specific therapy, called neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, aims to improve various acquired visual dysfunctions that follow a head injury.

Football Trivia: How Can An Eye Doctor Help Athletes After A Head Injury? from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

This kind of rehabilitation promotes recovery through various therapies and activities that retrain the neural processes of the brain. By establishing new brain pathways (also known as neuroplasticity), the patient learns to use other parts of the brain in order to recover the function of the impacted regions of the brain, in this case —vision.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation involves the use of specialized lenses and prisms (among other tools) as part of the rehabilitation strategy. Anyone who displays any of the above symptoms following a TBI should visit a neuro-optometrist to give themselves the best chance at recovery. Sometimes, visual dysfunction can manifest itself in areas that may seem unrelated to vision, such as anxiety, panic attacks or balance/posture problems. Anyone who’s suffered a concussion or TBI, no matter the age, can benefit from a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program.

Accidents occur more often than one would expect. If you or your child suffer from a concussion after a sports injury, you can rely on Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes for the expertise and professionalism you need. Call Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric to book your appointment today.

Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes provides neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy and other services to patients from Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Tips to Avoid a Concussion or TBI

close up eye lips blog imageThe complexity of the brain is truly fascinating; any slight change in its chemistry or structural integrity can result in a multitude of health problems, such as visual disturbances or permanent vision loss. This can affect everyday activities such as driving, walking, reading, using a computer, and staying focused. Below we’ll discuss what traumatic brain injury is and how to avoid one.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma, typically a sudden blow or bump to the head.

Concussions — a mild form of brain injury — are very common and makeup 75% of all TBI incidents. A concussion involves a short loss of normal brain function, as the hit can cause the brain to bounce around in rapid motion within the skull, occasionally causing chemical changes or damaging brain cells.

Moderate to severe TBIs cause the victim to lose consciousness from a few minutes to several hours. This can impact cognitive capacity along with other visual symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty reading and writing
  • Partial or total loss of vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Weakened eye muscles

There are numerous ways a TBI can occur, most of which are activities most of us do on a daily basis.

What Causes Traumatic Brain Injury?

Head injuries that cause TBI can happen during everyday activities such as running, hiking, swimming, or competitive sports.

The most common causes of TBIs are:

  • Sports injuries
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Being struck by an object

TBIs are more common than one would expect, affecting 10 million individuals around the globe annually. Below we’ll discuss what steps to take in order to prevent a TBI.

Tips for Avoiding Concussion and TBI

ski kidsOne of the best ways to protect against a concussion or TBI is to avoid any risky behavior. While this isn’t always possible, there are some steps you can take to protect your brain and eyes from trauma and damage.

Here are our top four tips:

1) Wear Protective Sports Gear

There are 3.8 million TBIs occurring each year in the US, and 20% are from sports. Wearing protective helmets and eyewear when playing basketball, baseball, or football can help prevent serious injuries, especially in children.

Speak with Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes about shatter-resistant polycarbonate or Trivex lenses, known for their impact-resistant materials.

2) Wear Sunglasses

Sun glare can cause momentary blindness. It’s that quick second of feeling blinded by the sun while you’re outside, driving in a car, or at the beach that can make you vulnerable to injury. An easy way to guard against this is by wearing sunglasses.

Sunglasses with polarized lenses prevent glare from entering your eyes by blocking strong light that reflects off surfaces such as glass, water, snow, sand, or pavement. Make sure that the sunglasses you choose contain 100% UV-blocking protection. Photochromic lenses are a smart option for those with prescription eyeglasses, as they darken when outside and revert back to clear lenses when indoors.

3) Pay Attention To Your Surroundings

As obvious as this may sound, people often forget to pay close attention to their surrounding environment. We all know that talking on the phone or texting while driving is dangerous, but being unaware of what’s happening around you can pose certain risks as well. Try to reduce your distractions when walking, driving, or performing any extraneous labor. When outdoors, be on the lookout for sharp objects or debris that can pose a risk.

4) Don’t Forget to Wear Your Seatbelt

Parents and doctors have been drumming it into our heads for years, and for good reason! The #1 way to prevent or reduce car accident injuries is by wearing a seatbelt. According to The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.6 million American drivers and passengers were treated in hospital emergency rooms for car accident-related injuries in 2016. Transport Canada estimates that 25% of car accidents where victims were not wearing seat belts resulted in serious injuries, while 55% were fatal. In fact, car accidents are the number one cause of TBI-related deaths in America, especially among adults aged 20-24.

How a TBI Affects Vision

A TBI can negatively impact your vision, leading to sensitivity to light, blurry or double vision, or persistent eyestrain. In many cases, certain types of activities that were easier before the TBI suddenly become difficult. These include reading a book, driving a car, or watching TV.

Studies show that about 90% of TBI patients suffer from such visual dysfunctions, making it all the more critical to take precautionary measures in staying safe.

If you or a loved one displays any of these symptoms following a TBI, contact Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric right away. Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Mikes can offer a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to help regain any visual skills that were lost. Feel free to call us with any questions you may have – we’re here for you.

REFERENCES

https://www.traumaticbraininjury.com/severe-tbi-symptoms/

https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/concussion-tbi.htm

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/facts-and-figures

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/seatbelts/facts.html

https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/road/publications/canadian-motor-vehicle-traffic-collision-statistics-2016.html

Can Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Help Stroke Patients With Vision Problems?

senior woman with middle aged woman blog imgIf a loved one recently suffered a stroke and is still struggling with the after-effects, you will want to do everything in your power to help them quickly recover. Unfortunately, it can be painstaking to find the right treatment for their specific needs.

The first thing to keep in mind is this: a single treatment is not going to cure everything. Instead, combining a set of complementary therapies promises optimal results. Read on to find out how neuro-optometric rehabilitation plays an important role in the recovery process from a stroke.

How Does a Stroke Affect Vision

A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain (or a section of it) is interrupted. In other types of strokes, a blood vessel in the brain bursts causing major damage in the area. Depending on where in the brain the stroke occurs, it affects different body functions.

Because visual information is processed through the visual cortex of the brain, any brain damage may also affect vision-related processes and quality of vision. Such visual defects are not always obvious and frequently overlooked in initial evaluations following a stroke.

Try to help the stroke victim identify any of the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision (even over short periods)
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Reduction or loss of visual field
  • Headaches when engaged in visual tasks
  • Reading difficulty
  • Difficulties with eye movements

If any of these symptoms are present, a thorough assessment by a neuro-optometrist is needed.

Why Consult a Neuro-Optometrist?

A regular eye exam by an optometrist checks for eye diseases and visual acuity. A functional eye exam by a neuro-optometrist takes a completely different approach. The goal is to identify neurological vision-related issues and address the types of vision loss caused by a stroke.

About one-third of post-stroke patients experience one or more of these conditions:

  • Loss of visual field – Part of the person’s visual field disappears. In many cases, they will see only the right or the left half of it.
  • Lack of control over eye movements – When the eye nerves are damaged, the eyes may not move as desired or move involuntarily, causing eye turn (strabismus), double vision (diplopia), or other similar issues.
  • Constant, unsteady eye movement (nystagmus) – A continuous fidgety jiggle of the eye, which can move up and down, sideways or in a circle.
  • Visual neglect – When the person is not aware of or does not respond to something he/she sees. There is nothing wrong with the eyes themselves, but the brain does not interpret the images it receives.
  • Agnosia – Often people have trouble recognizing familiar objects and even faces. The cause is similar to visual neglect.

It is easy to see how these affect the overall behavior of a person. At the same time, many may mistake their lack of orientation, bumping into things and/or ignoring people for a problem unrelated to vision.

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Choosing the Right Neuro-Optometrist for a Stroke Patient

An exam by qualified professionals will provide clarity into the situation, so make sure to choose an optometry practice that includes a neuro optometrist with extensive training and experience in neuro-optometric rehabilitation such as Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric.

The therapy may include prism lenses to shift images into the visual field or join the images in case of double vision. Exercises to train the brain to manage vision and compensate for vision loss are also part of the therapy.

Your loved one deserves optimal healing, and to ensure this, rehabilitative vision therapy should be part of the overall treatment plan. If he or she is already undergoing physical or occupational therapy, consider adding neuro-optometric rehabilitation for a more holistic approach and better results.

How Successful Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Vision therapy will help improve the condition of your family member or friend. The speed and extent at which the patient will recover depend on the severity of the condition. Having said that, keep in mind each person is unique and reacts differently to the same treatment.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is not a cure, but it will enhance visual skills and quality of life for the person you care for.

When vision is dysfunctional, so is everything else. Getting one’s vision back on track can greatly enhance daily function and quality of life. Help your loved one get his/her life back, contact Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric today.

Serving patients in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Elk Grove, and throughout California .

Resources:

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/about-brain-injuries-vision/stroke-and-vision

https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke/effects-of-stroke/physical-effects-of-stroke/physical-impact/visual-disturbances

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/conditions-treated-by-neuro-optometric-rehabilitation

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/what-is-neuro-optometric-rehabilitation

https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Help-after-stroke/Stroke-resources-and-fact-sheets/Vision-loss-after-stroke-fact-sheet

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