Concussion Headache: Everything You Need To Know

It may be your eyes:

Concussion Headache: Everything You Need To Know

It may be your eyes:

A concussion occurs when the brain is injured, either directly from a blow to the head or indirectly when the head moves rapidly back and forth (whiplash). A concussion is a type of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Post Concussion Syndrome, also known as PCS, is diagnosed when the symptoms of a concussion last for longer than three months. It should be noted that you do not need to lose consciousness to develop PCS, and a mild concussion can lead to severe symptoms (headaches, dizziness, disorientation).

Woman suffering from Binocular Vision Dysfunction headache.

What Causes a Concussion Headache

The causes of a post concussion headache can be the result of:

  • Car accident
  • Sports Injury
  • Military explosion / blast injury
  • Falls
  • Any blunt force trauma to the head

Not everyone who experiences trauma to the head or whiplash will have a concussion, but individuals who have had concussions in the past are more likely to experience them again. Additionally, women are more prone to concussions due to having less muscular necks. Another factor that could contribute to the higher rate of concussions among women is the fact that the female head tends to be smaller than that of a male.

Female hormones are thought to play a role as well, leading women to experience symptoms like dizziness and nausea – common after a concussion – more acutely than men. Additionally, women tend to report and seek treatment for concussion symptoms more often than men, which in turn has an impact on the statistics.

What Does a Concussion Headache Feel Like?

If you experience a headache after a concussion, it can feel like a pounding or throbbing pain. Some individuals do experience a sensitivity to light and sound as well. The pain can range from mild to severe and can last for hours to days.

Woman suffering from Binocular Vision Dysfunction headache.

Concussion Symptoms

The Post Concussion Syndrome symptoms can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Light and noise sensitivity
  • Nausea
  • İnsomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulties with memory
  • Difficulties concentrating

Headache After Concussion: How Long Will It Last?

Treatment and proper recovery are key when healing from a concussion. For some individuals, their concussion lasts a few days to a few weeks with proper rest and minimization of stress.

However, for others, a concussion can last several months or longer if treatment is not administered, if a second concussion is experienced before the first concussion fully healed, or if they are just unfortunate.

It Could Be Your Eyes: Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD)

When someone experiences a concussion, part of the area that is injured involves the pathways that help to align the eyes. If you have been suffering from lingering concussion symptoms, it could actually be due to an entirely different condition known as Binocular Vision Dysfunction. BVD occurs when our eyes are slightly misaligned. While this misalignment can be very subtle, it can make it incredibly difficult for our eyes to send one clear image to our brain.

Here’s what happens when someone has BVD: With two eyes, we are able to see one clear image. This is because our brain is able to transform the images seen by each eye (which are synchronized and very similar to each other) into a single image, which is known as binocular vision.

In patients with BVD, there is a slight misalignment between their eyes resulting in their eyes being out of sync with one another, causing the brain to have a very difficult time processing those two unsynchronized and dissimilar images to form one clear image.

The result? The brain forces the eye aligning muscles to fix the problem by realigning the eyes. But the realignment is only temporary and misalignment then recurs, which is followed closely by realignment, and the cycle of misalignment and realignment continues. Over time, this places an immense amount of strain on the eye muscles and leads to dizziness and headaches, as well as a variety of other symptoms.

Symptoms of BVD

Common Symptoms for Adults and Children 14+ with Binocular Vision Dysfunction

The following is a list of common symptoms in adults with BVD:

  • Difficulty with balance / unsteady walking
  • Pain in the neck
  • Frequent head tilt
  • Motion sickness
  • Difficulty reading and learning
Woman suffering from Binocular Vision Dysfunction headache.

Are your symptoms caused by BVD?

Symptoms of BVD in Children Ages 4 to 8-years-old

  • Poor handwriting (poor spacing, writing letters too big or small)
  • Difficulty reading
  • Avoiding activities
  • Playing with toys very close to their face
  • Sitting close to the TV
  • Difficulty identifying shapes, colors and numbers that are age-appropriate
  • Difficulty seeing the class board
  • Frequently bumping into objects
  • Difficulty catching balls
  • Stomach aches and headaches at school or away from home
  • Light sensitivity
  • Covering one eye to see
  • Anxiety in public places
  • Frequent squinting in order to see
Boy holding head and suffering from headache.

Find out if your 4 to 8-year-old is experiencing symptoms due to Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Symptoms of BVD in Children Ages 9 to 13-years-old

  • Repeatedly bumping into things while walking
  • Having difficulty completing homework due to headaches and nausea
  • Repeatedly reading the same things over and over
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Closing one eye to make it easier to see
  • Blurred vision when using the computer
  • Blurred vision or tired eyes when looking at the blackboard in class
  • Verbal skills that are ahead of reading skills
  • Frequent blinking
Girl suffering from headache caused by BVD.

Find out if your 9 to 13-year-old is experiencing symptoms due to Binocular Vision Dysfunction:

How Do You Fix BVD?

BVD is treated by correcting the image misalignment using microprism lenses. These glasses bend light in a way that the images seen by your eyes are moved into the position they need to be in, resulting in realigned images. When the images seen by your two eyes are realigned, your brain can easily transform them into one, singular image. Your headache and nausea and other uncomfortable symptoms caused by BVD are significantly reduced or eliminated.

In fact, the average patient will notice a 50% reduction of symptoms by the end of their first visit. Over the next several visits, our team at Vision Specialists of Michigan will fine-tune your lenses so that your headache, nausea, and other BVD symptoms can continue to improve and be eliminated.

How Is BVD Diagnosed?

In order to determine if your concussion headache and other symptoms are a result of BVD, we recommend you visit your primary care physician or a specialist to rule out other causes. If no cause is found for the symptoms, our team at Vision Specialists of Michigan can help determine if BVD is the issue.

During your visit:

  1. We ask you to fill out a specialized questionnaire designed to screen for those who might have BVD.
  2. You will be asked to complete a detailed Health History form.
  3. An eye exam is performed to determine the need for correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism (a common imperfection in the eye’s curvature).
  4. A specialized exam is performed (NeuroVisual Evaluation) to determine if visual misalignment is present.
  5. If diagnosed with BVD, you will be fitted with a trial version of their new prescription. Most people notice a significant improvement in their symptoms within just a few minutes of putting on the trial lenses.

You can expect to spend approximately 3 hours in our office during your visit.

Get Treatment

If you or a loved one are experiencing headaches or other symptoms mentioned above, contact our team at Vision Specialists of Michigan. If BVD is causing your visual symptoms, our microprism lenses just might be the solution you need.

Get treatment today.

Concussion Headaches: FAQ

Concussion headache treatment usually involves rest. Many headaches from concussions go away on their own. However, if your symptoms persist, further medical evaluation might be needed.

Some individuals take Tylenol to help with the pain. However you should always consult with your doctor before taking any medications.

For a headache after concussion, you should rest to allow your brain to heal.

A concussion can produce headaches that feel similar to a migraine, with the pain located towards the front of the head. Post concussion headaches also sometimes cause a sensitivity to light and sound.

Watch these videos of BVD patient experiences:

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