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What’s the Connection Between Sleep Apnea, Concussion, and Your Vision?

Sleep Apnea 640A recent comprehensive sleep study on people with post-concussion syndrome showed that 78% were diagnosed with sleep apnea.

What came first: the concussion or sleep apnea? Determining the answer can be difficult. People who don’t get enough sleep already exhibit some of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome even when they haven’t had one.

What we do know is that there is a connection between sleep apnea and concussion. Sleep apnea affects the recovery from a concussion, and at the same time, the condition may result from a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Where does vision come in?

Sleep Apnea and Concussions

For those having sustained a concussion, sleep is very important for a speedy and thorough recovery. A poor night’s sleep, as in the case of sleep apnea, may lead to impaired decision-making, cognitive loss, and symptoms of depression—all of which can interrupt the recovery process.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of sleep apnea, is caused by a physical collapse or blockage of the upper airway that interrupts breathing during sleep. This also reduces blood and oxygen flow to the brain, making it difficult for those with a concussion to recover.

A lesser known type of apnea is central sleep apnea. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, this type is caused by a dysfunction in the brain that regulates breathing and sleep, which could also be affected by a TBI.

Sleep Apnea and Vision

As we all know, getting a good night’s sleep is essential to good health. There are a number of eye conditions that are exacerbated by poor sleep patterns and therefore may be associated with sleep apnea.

These include:

  • Floppy eyelid syndrome
  • Nonarteritic anterior isechemic optic neuropathy
  • Papilledema
  • Glaucoma
  • Swelling of the optic nerve
  • Retinal conditions

Getting your eyes checked regularly is important as it allows your eye doctor to rule out any eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss. This is all the more important if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Concussions and Vision

Concussions can have a significant impact on the functioning of the visual system. Post-trauma vision syndrome is a group of symptoms that cause eye coordination problems, dizziness, and blurred vision after a concussion.

The symptoms of post-trauma vision syndrome can include:

  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Focusing problems
  • Problems with walking and stride

Severe concussions can cause double vision and blindness, while mild concussions can affect vision and cause visual dysfunction.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists can help post-TBI patients in ways that other health care providers may not be able to.

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

If you have experienced a concussion or suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric to follow up on a diagnosis and treatment for any vision problems you may be having due to either condition.

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

Frequently Asked Questions with Palmer N. Lee, O.D.

 

Q: What’s the connection between sleep apnea, concussion, and your vision?

  • A: After sustaining a concussion, you may begin to experience sleep apnea. This not only affects the healing process but your vision as well.

Q: Is there a way to treat vision problems due to a concussion?

  • A: Yes. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can retrain the brain to relieve dizziness, headaches, double vision, and other TBI-related problems.


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How One Football Player Became a Pro Thanks To Sports Vision Training

football player 640Larry Fitzgerald Jr. is a well-known NFL wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. He played college football at Pittsburgh, where he earned uncontested All-America honors. He was drafted by the Cardinals third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He has had a long and distinguished career.

What many don’t know is that as a young child, Fitzgerald struggled in school. Fortunately, his grandfather, Robert Johnson, the founder of an optometry clinic in Chicago, understood the central role visual skills play in reading, writing, and sports activities.

Dr. Johnson created a vision therapy program for his grandson to strengthen the skills he needed to succeed in school. By the time he turned 12 years old, Fitzgerald became interested in sports and wanted to strengthen the visual skills he needed to boost his sports performance. Dr. Johnson began to tailor his grandson’s vision therapy exercises to facilitate his success on the football field.

The aim of a vision therapy program is to improve visual skills— eye-tracking, focusing, eye-hand coordination, peripheral vision, visual processing speed, and more!

Visual Skills Necessary For Sports Performance

Sports activities require speed and accuracy for optimal performance. These skills allow you to track a ball as it flies through the air, assume the correct position to catch it, and accurately pass it to another player.

The following skills are essential for optimal sports performance:

  • Dynamic visual acuity
  • Eye-tracking
  • Eye focusing
  • Peripheral vision
  • Depth perception
  • Visual reaction time
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Visual memory
  • Visualization
  • Visual concentration

Thanks to vision therapy, Fitzgerald was able to improve his precision, control, spatial judgment, and rhythm. Fitzgerald is a firm believer that visual training helped him become a successful football player.

“There is definitely a connection between the vision therapy that I did as a child and my performance on the field,” Fitzgerald has said. “A number of the drills in football camp reminded me of things I did in vision therapy that helped develop reaction time, eye-hand coordination, and visualization skills.

Can Vision Therapy Improve Visual Skills For Sports?

Yes. Most binocular vision conditions are caused by problems within the brain-eye connections, or visual processing. If a vision problem is detected, a vision therapy program can help to retrain your visual system to improve your vision skills.

If you want to improve your game, vision therapy may be just what you need. Contact Dr. Randy Fuerst & Dr. Hannah Lynch to schedule a comprehensive vision evaluation to assess your visual skills and to determine whether vision therapy is right for you.

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

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Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Herring

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sacramento, California. Visit EYEcenter optometric for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

4 Ways To Help Your Students With Vision-Related Learning Difficulties

sad child 640An estimated 1.25 million children in North America are affected by some form of visual impairment that impacts their daily living. Ranging from nearsightedness to lazy eye to cross-eye, these visual problems can have a drastic impact on their performance in the classroom, which may lead them to lag behind their peers.

Fortunately, there are certain steps that educators can take to help their students with visual problems succeed. First, let’s explain the link between vision and learning.

Why are Visual Skills Necessary For Learning?

Because up to 80% of classroom learning is vision-based, it is no wonder that children with subpar visual skills may lag behind their peers academically.

We’re not referring to visual acuity, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), but rather the visual skills that rely on brain-eye communication. Problems with these skills can only be detected during a functional visual exam.These vision skills include eye teaming, tracking, accommodation, and focusing, all of which are critical for proficient reading, writing, and reading comprehension.

Teachers of school-aged children with poor visual skills can implement certain strategies to accommodate and even improve students’ academic performance. Below we’ve listed a few suggestions.

How Educators Can Help Students With Vision-Related Learning Challenges

1. Consider Where Your Students Should Be Seated

Make sure your students are seated facing the whiteboard. They should not have to look over their shoulder or turn around to see what the teacher is writing on the board. Some classrooms have students seated at round tables, forcing some children to turn around to see the front of the classroom. While this type of seating arrangement has its benefits, it is not appropriate for children with visual impairments, as they may find it difficult to quickly shift their gaze.

2. Pay Attention to Their Visual Needs

Try to meet the students’ visual needs. For example, if a child is expected to wear glasses for certain tasks, make sure that the child follows through. If the child doesn’t comply, consider speaking with the child’s parents.

3. Optimize Classroom Lighting

If you know that a certain student has a visual problem, seat them so that they aren’t in direct sunlight or under a shadow. Natural lighting is preferred, but when this isn’t possible, tungsten light bulbs are generally favored by the eye over fluorescent lighting. Please note that any flickering light bulb should be changed without delay.

4. Choose a Teaching Method That Accommodates Their Vision

Below are steps you can take to help students with poor visual skills:

  • Use black or dark-colored markers on the whiteboard. Avoid bright colored markers like orange, red, and yellow.
  • While writing on the board, say the words/numbers aloud to assist those who may have difficulty reading or seeing the text.
  • Avoid using language that relies heavily on vision, such as “like this one” or “over there.”
  • Be patient when a student with subpar visual skills stares off into space or daydreams. This is often a symptom of visual dysfunction, rather than a lack of attention.

How We Can Help

At Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric, our goal is to help each child reach their full potential by strengthening any visual skill deficiencies.

We treat children with many types of visual dysfunctions, often using a specialized form of therapy called vision therapy. Vision therapy trains the eyes to focus better or work as a team (among many other visual skills) by strengthening the eye-brain connection.

To learn more or to ask any questions, contact 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

 

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Does Your Head Hurt? You Might Have Binocular Vision Dysfunction

headache womanHave you been struggling with headaches or migraines with little to no relief? If so, you might be suffering from binocular vision dysfunction (BVD).

A standard eye exam generally won’t identify BVD. That’s why it’s important to consult a neuro-optometrist if you’re experiencing headaches or migraines.

What is Binocular Vision Dysfunction?

Binocular vision dysfunction is a condition where your eyes are misaligned, leading the eye muscles to strain to transmit one clear image to your brain. This can result in head pain, migraines and several other symptoms. If the problem is BVD, a neuro-optometrist can diagnose the condition and provide effective treatment.

Common Symptoms of Binocular Vision Dysfunction

People with BVD typically experience some of these symptoms:

  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Double vision
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Reduced attention span and concentration difficulties
  • Shadowed, overlapping or blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Motion sickness
  • Poor depth perception
  • Neck, upper back or shoulder pain

If BVD is the cause of your symptoms, specialized prismatic optical lenses that allow the eyes to regain their alignment can usually provide prompt relief.

Learning Disabilities and Reading Symptoms

Having even slightly misaligned eyes can also disrupt learning and reading.

Binocular vision dysfunction can tire your eyes while reading. Words may blend together, and you may skip lines or lose your place while reading.

A routine eye exam isn’t geared toward diagnosing BVD, so if your child complains of headaches and is struggling with schoolwork, get them assessed by your neuro-optometrist today.

Treatment for Your Headaches and Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Unlike standard eyeglasses, BVD lenses are specialized aligning lenses that allow your eyes to work together. Once your eyes are working together, the brain will receive one clear image. Your eye muscles will then be able to relax and release the tension that can cause headaches and migraines. Your eye doctor can play a significant role in treating these symptoms.

If you suffer from headaches, you may have BVD or another vision problem. Schedule a vision evaluation at Vision Therapy Center at EYEcenter Optometric as soon as possible. The earlier a vision problem is detected, the sooner you can receive a comprehensive treatment plan to achieve clearer and more comfortable vision.

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

 

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