Vision Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury. TBIs can be caused by falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, abuse and assaults, being struck by an object and blasts and explosions.

Over 50% of patients with a concussion have vision problems including light sensitivity, eyes strain, blurred vision, double vision and headaches that are a direct result of their injury

Traumatic Brain Injury occurs in

500 per 100,000

people yearly

Concussion is a mild form of an acquired traumatic brain injury that is caused by movement of the brain within the skull either by a direct blow or by a whiplash effect. The movement of the brain causes damage to how the brain cells function, leading to symptoms that can be physical, behavioral or emotional. A single concussion will resolve on its own without long-term consequences 70% of the time, but it has the potential of causing serious and long-lasting symptoms.

Common symptoms of concussion include:

Headaches or “pressure” in head
Light sensitivity
Noise sensitivity
Confusion, concentration or memory problems
Feeling sluggish, hazy or foggy
Balance problems, dizziness or vertigo
Nausea
Double vision or blurry vision
Not “feeling right” or “feeling down”

Frequently Asked Questions

Vision problems are a common side-effect of TBIs and concussion. Sometimes the visual symptoms are more obvious such as blurred vision or double vision while other times, subtle vision problems can lead to eyestrain, headaches or fatigue. The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person also. Visual side effects from TBIs and concussions include:

  • Blurred, fluctuating or double vision
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Abnormal posture
  • Poor depth perception resulting in bumping into objects
  • Confusion and poor concentration with visual tasks
  • Peripheral Vision Loss or Visual Field Defect
  • Hand Eye coordination and motor problems
  • Visual Information Processing delays making the patient feel “slow” or “foggy”
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Strabismus (eye turn)
  • Headaches, eyestrain and fatigue
  • Head tilts and turns
  • Functional vision problems including eye tracking, eye focussing and eye teaming delays 

TBI-related symptoms can severely impact a person’s day to day living even when the symptoms are mild. Treatment of TBIs and concussions involves a multi-disciplinary approach including optometrists, physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, speech therapists and other professionals based on the patient’s specific symptoms. According to research, recovering from vision problems is crucial to recovery from the brain injury. Treating the vision problems can also help the patient get the most out of their other treatments such as physiotherapy which involves visual-vestibular tasks and occupational therapy which involves visual-motor tasks. If the visual system is not performing effectively, it would prolong the rehabilitative process with other supportive therapies.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation is a specialized branch of optometry that works at the neurological level to retrain and reprogram our visual information processing, which is our eye-to-brain connection. It is a highly individualized and customized program of vision rehabilitation exercises using specialized lenses, filters, prisms, tints and target visual stimuli to retrain the brain to effectively process visual information. Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation can help with the following conditions:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Concussion
  • Stroke
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Mild closed head injury
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Seizures

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation retrains the neural processes of the brain and is a recommended treatment for post-TBI and concussion patients and for those suffering from other neurodegenerative conditions. Our brain has a remarkable ability to be trained, retrained, change and adapt, a phenomenon called neuroplasticity. Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation uses customized eye-training exercises to retrain and rewire the brain to rebuild a strong foundation of the visual system. The sooner the person starts the vision exercises, the sooner and better their chance of recovery from vision symptoms. Post-trauma vision is complex and requires an assessment by a board-certified Developmental Optometrist who performs Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation to accurately diagnose and treat the vision dysfunctions.

Book an Appointment

Schedule a Vision Therapy Assessment with our board-certified developmental optometrist, Dr. Arora, for a thorough assessment of your visual skills and visual processing speed.