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Neuro Optometry

3 Ways Neuro-Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors

3 Ways Neuro Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors 640Approximately 15 million people around the globe suffer from a stroke each year. An alarming two-thirds of stroke survivors experience some degree of visual dysfunction after the incident.

These problems can range from irritating to debilitating and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and ability to function.

Thankfully, there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from stroke-related vision problems.

At The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre, we are dedicated to helping post-stroke patients heal their visual system for long-lasting relief and a better quality of life.

Below, we’ll explore how a stroke can impact vision and what a neuro-optometrist can do to help.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when insufficient oxygen is delivered to the brain tissue, either due to leaking or bursting blood vessels, or a blockage within the blood vessel.

Serious brain damage can occur within minutes of a stroke, making early intervention crucial.

Signs of a stroke include:

  • Paralysis
  • Numb or weak limbs
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness or loss of coordination

Because a large portion of the brain is involved with vision, a stroke can also affect the eyes and visual processing.

How a Stroke Can Affect Vision

If a stroke occurs in the areas of the brain that control the eye, it can cause:

  • Blurred vision
  • Visual field loss
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nystagmus — rapid, uncontrolled eye movements

When a stroke affects the areas of the brain responsible for visual processing, it can cause:

  • Visual neglect — when the patient ignores stimuli from a portion of their visual field
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Poor depth and movement perception
  • Difficulty recognizing objects or people

3 Ways a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help Stroke Survivors

1. Identify and Diagnose Any Visual Dysfunction

A neuro-optometrist has the training and experience required to thoroughly identify, diagnose and treat even slight visual dysfunction that may be causing symptoms.

Your neuro-optometrist will perform a functional visual evaluation to assess neurological vision-related complications and identify the type of vision loss caused by the stroke.

 

2. Rehabilitate the Visual System

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy includes visual exercises that retrain the brain and eyes to work together.

During a stroke, certain neural connections may become damaged. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation aims to restore those connections and heal the visual system for long-lasting results.

3. Prescribe the Correct Lenses or Prisms, As Needed

A neuro-optometrist can prescribe specialized lenses or prisms that aid in the therapeutic process. Prism lenses shift images into the functioning part of a patient’s visual field, or, in the case of double vision or visual neglect, unite the images the two eyes are sending to the brain. In some cases, prisms can instantly relieve symptoms like disorientation or double vision.

Some patients only visit an occupational therapist or physical therapist after a stroke—and while these therapies are often necessary and helpful, they cannot treat the visual system or prescribe prisms.

How We Can Help

Stroke survivors deserve the best in rehabilitative care. That’s why we are passionate about restoring their independence and offering relief from incapacitating visual symptoms.

Furthermore, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy offers the added benefit of diminishing vertigo and depression and increasing confidence levels.

If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, we can help. To schedule your functional visual evaluation, contact The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre today.

The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, and Fort Saskatchewan, all throughout Alberta.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. James Evans

Q: #1: Other than stroke patients, who can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help any person suffering from visual dysfunction after a head injury, traumatic brain injury or stroke, or anyone with neurological conditions that impact their vision. If you experience any symptoms associated with visual dysfunction like dizziness, disorientation, headaches, nausea or difficulty concentrating— it may be time to visit your neuro-optometrist.

Q: #2: Can neuro-optometry help if the stroke occurred months or years ago?

  • A: The best time to start treatment is as soon as possible following a stroke or head injury, but treatment can also be effective years later. The basis of neuro-optometry is neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change and build new neural connections. As long as a person is alive, there is potential to heal their visual system.


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4 Ways Vision May Be Affected Following A Stroke

headache womanAbout 2 in 3 stroke survivors live with some degree of visual dysfunction following the stroke. Although all brains are different and everybody reacts differently, 4 major categories of vision loss can be caused by a stroke.

A stroke can damage any segment of the neural pathway that connects the eyes to the brain or a section of the brain that processes the images the eyes send it. Damage to either area can lead to vision loss.

Stroke-related vision problems can make daily living a challenge, but there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from visual symptoms.

In honor of World Stroke Awareness Month, we’ll explore 4 types of stroke-related visual problems, and how The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre can help.

1. Visual Field Loss

A stroke can damage certain areas of the brain responsible for either central or peripheral vision, causing a portion of the visual field to be lost, causing vision to be ‘blacked-out’ or have ‘blind spots.’

In most cases, the same area of the visual field is lost in both eyes. This condition is called homonymous visual field loss, meaning a person may not be able to see the right or left side of their visual field from each eye.

Affected individuals may have difficulty with reading and may bump into things located in their blind spots.

2. Visual Processing Difficulties

Sometimes, a person may be able to see everything in their visual field but will have problems processing that visual information. For example, they may have the ability to see another person’s face, but might not recognize it. They may also have difficulty identifying or interacting with common objects, affecting daily tasks such as making a cup of coffee.

Visual neglect is the most common type of visual processing problem. People with this condition aren’t aware that they aren’t seeing people or objects on the right or left side of their visual field.

3. Eye Movement Problems

A stroke can damage the delicate nerves that control the eyes’ movements. A person who cannot control their eye nerves may have difficulty moving their eyes in order to shift their focus from one object to the next or have trouble tracking moving objects.

Nystagmus (involuntary and rapid eye movements) is also a possible complication of ocular nerve damage.

If only one eye is affected, the patient will usually experience double or blurred vision. Whether one or both eyes are affected, poor depth perception can result from eye movement dysfunction.

4. Dry Eye Syndrome

Stroke-related muscle weakness is common, especially in the eyes and face. If this occurs, the eyelids may not be able to fully close during blinking or while asleep. This can lead to dry eye syndrome, causing symptoms like red, itchy, watery, burning eyes and light sensitivity.

Fortunately, many of these post-stroke visual symptoms are treatable with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

A customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy program can help you return to your normal routine, or at least make daily life less challenging.

If you or a loved one have suffered a stroke, speak with Dr. Brennan Nelson about getting your vision evaluated to identify deficiencies in the visual system. If a problem is found, we’ll help guide you through all of your treatment options for the best possible outcome.

To schedule your appointment or to learn more about what we offer, call The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre today.

serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, and throughout Alberta.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. James Evans

Q: #1: What is neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a tailor-made program of visual exercises that train the eyes and brain to work together. Treatment can also include specialized lenses, prisms, and filters.

Q: #2: What other conditions can neuro-optometric rehabilitation treat?

  • A: Neuro-optometry can help patients with visual problems due to traumatic brain injury, stroke, physical disabilities and neurological conditions. A neuro-optometrist can help treat binocular vision disorders (BVD), strabismus, diplopia, oculomotor dysfunction, accommodation and convergence problems, and traumatic visual acuity loss.


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Boys With ADHD Are at Higher Risk for Brain Injury & Vision Problems

brother and sister 640Studies show that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur in approximately 17% of males worldwide.

To determine whether there is a link between inattention-hyperactivity and TBIs, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry [analyzed] data from 724 Canadian males aged 6-34. They collected information, examined health files and administered a questionnaire to the participants’ teachers on classroom behavior.

This study is the first to show that childhood behaviors, such as inattention-hyperactivity, predicted TBIs. The study also found that boys having sustained a TBI in childhood were more likely to have another one in adolescence.

In addition to headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, TBIs can also impair one’s visual function, typically causing headaches, blurred and double vision, and dizziness, among other symptoms.

At The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre, we help patients recover their vision through neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. By performing specific eye-training exercises designed to retrain the neural processes of the brain. This rewires the brain (neuroplasticity) and treats discomforts or struggles associated with visual dysfunction following a brain injury.

What Is a TBI and How Can It Affect Vision?

Traumatic brain injury is a disruption in the normal function of the brain caused by a jolt, blow, or bump to the head, or harsh head injury, whether from a sports-related injury, fall, or car accident.

This can significantly impact the functioning of the visual system. While certain brain injuries may cause permanent damage to the optic nerve, it’s more common for it to disrupt communication between the eyes and brain.

Post TBI visual problems may include:

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

Why Do Boys with Inattention & Hyperactivity Incur More Head Injuries Than Others?

While there’s still a lot we don’t know about the link between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and concussion, research shows a few connections.

Children and adults with ADHD tend to have poor impulse control, inattention, difficulty maintaining attention, and high energy levels, all of which places them at risk of getting a concussion.

Additionally, many children diagnosed with ADHD are encouraged to participate in sports to help with social interaction, self-esteem and hyperactivity. While this is beneficial on many levels, if they have poor visual-motor speed, or depth perception they’re more likely to collide with teammates, potentially causing a concussion.

Lastly, research also suggests that ADHD may involve problems with visual or auditory processing that may also contribute to the risk of concussion.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists offer a customized treatment regimen for people with visual deficits resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). It addresses problems related to eye teaming, tracking, and focusing that can make it difficult to read and complete tasks. By training the brain to communicate with the eyes more effectively, symptoms like dizziness and headaches can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

If your child exhibits ADHD behaviors and has experienced a concussion contact The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre for a comprehensive eye exam. If vision problems are detected, we’ll offer a personalized treatment program to strengthen any lagging visual skills that may be getting in the way of your child’s quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Brennan Nelson

 

Q: What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation?

  • A: Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation provides a personalized treatment regimen for those who have visual deficits caused by physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological insults. Neuro-optometry makes use of therapeutic prisms, lenses, filters, and specific vision therapy techniques to reteach the damaged parts of the brain to function better.

Q: How Are Vision Problems Found After a TBI?

  • A: Visual aberrations following a brain injury tend to be overlooked during the initial treatment, as the patient may have serious, life-threatening issues that require urgent medical attention. Furthermore, symptoms may not even present themselves until some time has passed following the injury. The earlier you see a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Optometrist, the better.Early diagnosis leads to more efficient treatment.


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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 ischemic 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 The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre to follow up on a diagnosis and treatment for any vision problems you may be having due to either condition.

The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, and Fort Saskatchewan, all throughout Alberta.

Q&A

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

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

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

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

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10 Things About Vestibular Disorders You Probably Didn’t Know

tired woman 640The vestibular system is what helps us feel balanced and stable. People with vestibular disorders may experience symptoms like frequent dizzy spells, blurred vision, disorientation, falling, or stumbling. What many don’t know is that an optometrist trained in the field of neuro-optometry may be able to help. Read on to learn more about vestibular disorders and how we may be able to treat your dizziness.

10 Quick Facts About Vestibular Disorders

  1. Vestibular disorders affect more than 35% of adults over the age of 40.
  2. The vestibular system is made up of tiny fluid-filled parts within the inner ear, acting like a builder’s level, communicating with specific areas of the brain to process balance and movement.
  3. Other symptoms of vestibular disorders include nausea, fatigue, difficulty focusing on objects, poor concentration, difficulty reading, hearing loss, and ringing in the ear. Many of these symptoms may overlap with other conditions, so be sure to visit your doctor or eye doctor to rule out these conditions.
  4. Vestibular disorders can be caused by injury, disease, drug or chemical poisoning, ageing, and autoimmune diseases.
  5. Certain lifestyle changes can help ease symptoms of vestibular disorders. Reducing your intake of salt, caffeine, and alcohol could improve your condition.
  6. Vestibular disorders can be challenging to diagnose. Many patients report visiting four or more physicians over the course of several years before receiving a proper diagnosis.
  7. Some common vestibular disorders are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, Meniere’s disease, and vestibular migraine.
  8. Sadly, patients with undiagnosed vestibular disorders may sometimes be perceived as lazy, anxious, inattentive, or attention-seeking.
  9. While there is no cure for vestibular disorders, some treatments can help cope with the condition, such as medications, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation, which is a form of vision therapy, can be life-changing for some patients.
  10. There is hope! Neuro-optometrists who perform neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help many patients suffering from dizziness or other symptoms of vestibular disorders by improving the way the brain processes information. In some cases, vestibular disorders are caused or exacerbated by poor coordination between the eyes and the brain. With neuro-optometric therapy, patients learn how to train their eyes and brain to work in unison, lessening or eliminating many of the symptoms associated with the condition, including dizziness and disorientation.

If you are experiencing dizziness, contact The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre to schedule your functional visual evaluation. If your vision is healthy and doesn’t seem to be contributing to your symptoms, we can refer you to other health care professionals who can help.

The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, all throughout Alberta.

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Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. James Evans

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

  • A: 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 Sherwood Park, Alberta. Visit Village Eye Centre Sherwood Park for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Experiencing Headaches? Visual Problems May Be the Cause

Experiencing Headaches 640We’ve all had it. A sudden headache that seems to pop up out of nowhere, rendering the most routine tasks unpleasant—even impossible. What many people don’t know is that visual problems can cause mild to severe headaches.

Certain Vision Problems May Cause Headaches

If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, certain eye conditions may be causing your pain:

  • Strabismus: (also called visual misalignment or crossed eyes) when the eyes aren’t lining up with each other and produce images in double vision
  • Binocular vision dysfunction: when the eyes’ line of sight don’t match, and the eye muscles strain to produce a focused image
  • Presbyopia: commonly referred to as age-related farsightedness, it is characterized by the difficulty in reading small text up-close. This is caused by the thickening of the eye’s natural lens.
  • Astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness: when a misshapen cornea produces blurred or distorted vision and difficulty seeing either near or far-off objects

A note of caution.

If your headache is severe, something far more serious may be occurring. A sudden, severe headache may be a symptom of a stroke or a sight-threatening eye condition that requires immediate medical care.

This can include:

Acute angle-closure glaucoma: This occurs when fluid pressure builds inside the eye, leading to severe headaches, eye pain, blurry vision, and seeing halos around lit objects.

Giant cell arteritis: This occurs when the blood vessels’ inner linings swell, restricting blood flow. Symptoms include decreased vision and throbbing pain in the temples.

Get to the Root of Your Headaches

A comprehensive eye exam by a neuro-optometrist is the best way to determine whether you have visual challenges that could be causing your headaches. This eye exam checks for so much more than visual acuity; it often evaluates eye tracking and eye teaming, focusing, depth perception, oculomotor control, visual processing, peripheral awareness, and visual-vestibular integration.

If the exam shows that visual problems are at the root of your headaches, Dr. Brennan Nelson will provide a comprehensive treatment plan to strengthen your visual skills, such as neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. This can help you improve the way your eyes and brain communicate by utilizing prism lenses, and a variety of personalized eye exercises. Doing so often improves balance, coordination, and cognitive abilities, and can also reduce eye strain and alleviate (or even eliminate) vision-related headaches.

If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, visit Dr. Brennan Nelson for a thorough assessment of your symptoms, and to determine whether they’re being caused by visual problems. If so, we’ll offer treatment to alleviate your pain. We’re here to look out for your vision.

The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, and throughout Alberta.

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 The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre 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.

The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, and throughout Alberta.

 

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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. Brennan Nelson, 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. Brennan Nelson 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. Brennan Nelson 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 The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre if you have any questions, or to schedule a Neuro-Optometric Assessment. We serve patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, and Fort Saskatchewan, all throughout Alberta.

References:

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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. Brennan Nelson 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 The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre, 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 The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre today.

The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, and throughout Alberta.

REFERENCES

 

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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. Brennan Nelson will ask about your visual symptoms post-concussion and how your daily routine is affected. Then Dr. Brennan Nelson 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. Brennan Nelson 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 The Vision Therapy Centre At Village Eye Centre, Dr. Brennan Nelson uses prisms for post-concussion patients in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, and throughout Alberta.

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