It may be your eyes:
Vision Issues After a Concussion? Signs of a Bigger Problem

Vision Issues After a Concussion? Signs of a Bigger Problem

If you or a loved one have recently experienced a traumatic brain injury like a concussion, vision problems may result. Even mild traumatic brain injuries can cause eyesight difficulties. Understanding the types of concussion eye problems you may experience after a head injury can help you recognize them and seek help from an eye care professional. 

Eye-Related Concussion Symptoms

You might have headaches and other visual symptoms after a concussion, but these symptoms don't mean your vision has been permanently impaired. However, there are several post-concussion eye problems that you should watch out for. If they persist, these common symptoms could be signs of a bigger problem.

Double or Blurred Vision

Even a mild traumatic brain injury can damage the nerves or muscles around the eye. This damage can lead to blurred or double vision, in part because your eyes struggle to work together when focusing on nearby objects. You may notice particular difficulty when reading, or you may experience dizziness.

Light Sensitivity and Photophobia

You may also have trouble with headaches after a brain injury. This can cause you to be particularly reactive to things like bright sunlight or fluorescent lighting. Using computers or smartphones may prove troublesome and may worsen headaches following a concussion. 

Partial Vision Loss

The same accident that caused your concussion may have also caused eye injuries that result in the loss of some or all of your vision. Damage to the optic nerve can also lead you to experience vision loss.

Eye or Ocular Pain

The muscle around the lens of your eye expands and contracts, and you may experience eye pain if that  muscle stays contracted too long. This is called an accommodation spasm, and it could occur with prolonged near-vision activities like using hand-held devices.. You may also experience pain related to eye muscle inflammation following your head trauma.

Abnormal Eye Movements

Another potential eye problem following a concussion is delayed or slow eye movements. This can lead to an inability to track moving objects (pursuits) or move from viewing one object to another (saccades). You may also be unable to focus while moving your head after a concussion (vestibular ocular reflex or VOR).

Vision Motion Sensitivity

Experiencing vertigo or feeling uncomfortable in visually busy settings is another problem you may experience following a concussion. This may be because your central nervous system struggles to process complex visual stimuli that it had no problems with before your injury. If you have any of these conditions or a combination of them, it may be a sign that you have a more serious problem, such as Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD). 

Binocular Vision Dysfunction and Concussions

If you have sought help for your vision problems following your concussion, but nothing has helped, you may have BVD. An eye care professional who specializes in this condition can get you the treatment you need for your post-concussion vision disorders.

What Is BVD?

Vision is a function of your eyes and your brain working together. Each eye sends images to the brain, and the brain knits them together into one single image. In order for the brain to do this successfully and efficiently, your eyes must be in alignment and send two almost perfectly overlapping pictures to the brain.  Misalignments of the eyes, no matter how subtle, can cause eye strain as the muscles struggle to align your vision. Large misalignments are easy to spot, but subtle misalignments are harder to catch. The end result is that your eyes are not working as smoothly or efficiently together as they should. These subtle misalignments can lead to a condition called binocular vision dysfunction. People with BVD struggle to align their eyes to see one clear picture because their eyes are no longer working in tandem. Head injuries such as concussions can cause BVD.

Symptoms of BVD

The symptoms of BVD are similar to those of other conditions. This is why people with BVD may end up seeing more than one eye doctor to get relief from their symptoms following a concussion, but with little success. You should see a vision specialist if you experience one or more common BVD symptoms, such as:

Vision Specialists and Binocular Vision Dysfunction

If you have the symptoms of binocular vision dysfunction, you should contact a specialist immediately. At Vision Specialists, we pride ourselves on diagnosing and treating people with BVD, so they finally get the help they need. You can call or visit us or use our contact form Take our online BVD questionnaire to determine if you or a loved one might have BVD and should seek our help.

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It may be your eyes

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  • American Academy Optometry
  • American Optometric Association
  • Michigan Optometric Association
  • VEDA
  • Neuro Optometry Rehabilitation Association