Brain Injury

After any acquired brain injury be it by stroke, surgery, trauma or repetitive concussive injury in sport, 75-85% of such patients will have both their visual skills and their ability to coordinate their central and peripheral vision compromised.

As central vision or ‘sight’ often appears normal and unaffected, these changes in visual abilities are not necessarily identified by other health professionals.

These changes to visual abilities can lead to symptoms of blurry vision, double vision, objects appearing to move, fatigue, disorientation, dizziness, a tendency to lose their balance or fall over easily, not being able to tolerate brightly lit environments, having sensitivity to excessive movement, headaches and feeling out of sync with their environment.

Many of these symptoms can be compensated for or improved by appropriate optometric intervention.

Such patients are often termed as ‘hidden wounded’ as many health professionals consider that as the central vision is normal, visual function is also normal.

Patients are often told to ‘go and live with their symptoms’ as these symptoms are often considered normal for them.

However relatively simple appropriate interventions can make a great difference to any symptoms they might have.

Glasses are often prescribed not only to improve eyesight but to also allow a better balance between central and peripheral vision as well as reduce light and/or motion sensitivity.

Beyond this vision training or VT as it is known in practice is often then implemented to re-educate the visual system to improve focussing, eye coordination and  eye movements or tracking abilities. Often the ‘shaking’ the brain has sustained in the brain injury has disrupted their ability to implement these visual skills.

It is vital that work with any patient is done in conjunction with other health professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, clinical psychologists, neurologists, speech therapists, brain injury case managers, nurses, carers and any legal teams.

It is important that any visual findings and cause for patient symptoms are communicated to other health professionals dealing with the patient.