Neuro-Optometric Vision Rehabilitation is a sub-specialty of optometry that focuses on the variety of visual disorders that occur as a result of brain injuries, concussions, developmental delays, or other neurological disorders.
Our eyes are a part of the brain. When someone suffers any type of injury to the brain, whether it is a stroke, concussion, car accident or developmental delay, their vision will be adversely affected. For example, common vision symptoms after concussion include double vision, fluctuating and unstable vision, light sensitivity, difficulty shifting vision from near distance (such as reading) to far distance (such as looking at the board in class, or driving), and vice versa. People diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome often experience these symptoms.
A Neuro-Optometric Evaluation involves in-depth testing which evaluates how well your vision functions and to what degree it is interfering with the overall performance of activities of daily living such as reading, balance and movement, tying shoes, pouring liquids, etc. Additionally, an in-depth case history will be taken to assess the severity of your symptoms, quality of life, and short and long term goals. This is especially important after a concussion.
The Neuro-Optometric Evaluation is unique because, in addition to a traditional eye exam, basic binocular visual skills, and eye health, it places the patient into performance testing to determine how the visual process is interacting with other sensory feedback mechanisms. In addition, visual information processing skills are evaluated as they relate to work and play.
Vision problems that occur after a brain injury can range from being very subtle to dramatic. The more subtle vision disorders can often be the most irritating because they require very specialized testing to detect, and the patient often feels as though no one believes them.
Double vision is a common occurrence after stroke or head injury. It is vital to the rehabilitation process that double vision is treated as soon as possible; otherwise the overall rehabilitation will be significantly delayed. Double vision can cause problems with:
- Anxiety with visual tasks
- Reach and grab inaccuracies because of impaired depth perception
- Balance and movement difficulties like drifting when walking, stumbling or falling
- Driving difficulties with lane positioning, proper speed maintenance, multitasking, navigation
People who suffer from Concussions, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), Neuro-Developmental or Neuro-Degenerative Disorders commonly have various Functional Vision Problems leading to decreased performance of Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). Sometimes when one suffers a head injury, one also experience:
- Dizziness or nausea
- Spatial disorientation
- Constant eye fatigue, visually very uncomfortable
- Eyes are jumpy
- Extreme sensitivity to light
- Difficulty reading – words seem to move, jump or blur
- Stationary objects seem to move
- Difficulty finding things
- Consistently stays to one side of hallway or room
- Bumps into objects when walking
- Poor walking or posture: leans back on heels, forward, or to one side when walking, standing or seated in a chair
- Perception of the floor being tilted
- Associated neuro-motor difficulties with balance, coordination and posture
Vision problems associated with brain injuries can be disabling and increase dependency as well as risk of secondary injury unless treated.
Treatment can involve special therapeutic lenses (worn similar to glasses) or may involve a more in-depth program. Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitative Therapy is a non-invasive process for the rehabilitation of vision, visual information processing, visual-motor disorders, and integration of vision with the other senses. With individualized programs working one-on-one with a vision therapist, you can learn how to regain control of your vision and get on the path to getting your life back.
If you or a loved one has had a head injury, please give or office a call.
Copyright 2017 © Bristol Communications – Toni Bristol , Vision Therapy Practice Management Consultant