Rehabilitation for Acquired Brain Injury
Visual rehabilitation addresses the visual consequences of head injuries, stroke, brain surgery, or other neurological conditions. Even a concussion, what has been labeled as mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), can have serious, long-term visual consequences. Visual symptoms may include double vision, light sensitivity, focusing problems, peripheral vision difficulties, spatial perception, eye-hand coordination and visual information processing. Visual field defects and/or egocentric localization problems may be disguised as movement and balance problems. Impaired binocular function may produce a poor spatial sense giving rise to the intolerance of crowds or movement in the periphery.
After Brain Injury
Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome
Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome describes visual conditions that are frequently present after brain injury from stroke, brain surgery or trauma. Since we do not see with our "eyes", but with our "visual brain", the eye may be healthy but the visual symptoms persist.
Symptoms may include:
•Blurred vision: may be distance, near or both.
•Double vision: may be horizontal, vertical or only in 1 direction of gaze. May manifest as eye turn difficulties such as convergence insufficiency (the inability to turn eyes inward together to look at something at near).
•Visual field loss: often on the same side as the weak side of the body.
•Eye movement difficulties: trouble fixating, scanning, locating or moving eyes. Tracking pays a critical role in reading.
•Sensitivity to light or motion: trouble in visually overwhelming environments such as grocery stores, walking down aisles, and department store fluorescent lights.
•Headaches or eyestrain: with visual work which may include computer work.
•Reading difficulties: may be due to eye-teaming problems or visual processing problems.
•Visual midline shift syndrome or visual spatial problems: contributes to leaning or tilted postures, veering when walking, difficulty reaching, poor eye hand coordination, poor depth perception.
•Balance problems: unstable walking.
A rehabilitation team of physical, occupational and speech therapists is often employed to help recover lost function. Since vision guides our movement, posture, reaching and cognitive functions, if visual problems are not addressed, rehabilitation is incomplete or ineffective.
A visual therapist is a necessary part of any rehabilitation team. Visual therapy usually consists of regular office-based therapy sessions supported by 20 minutes of home practice daily.
Visual therapy can teach compensatory strategies, such as scanning into the area of field loss, or it can recover health and connectivity of nerve cells to restore function. Nearly 70% of sensory input to the brain comes from the eyes, involving over 50% of the brain to process visual information. Over 300 nerve pathways connect over 30 brain areas involved in visual functions. The prescribed visual activities help to restore these pathways and regain function.
Sports can cause many different injuries, including concussions. Concussions affect our brains and can sometimes lead to serious brain injury. These symptoms can result in learning problems and poor academic or work performance. Treatment of concussion varies depending on the severity of the injury.
Treatment may involve prescribing therapeutic lenses, prisms, tints, filters, occlusion, vision therapy and/or syntonic light therapy. At A B See Vision Therapy Center we also utilize the DynaVision D2 device in treating Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome. The D2 is recognized in hospitals and clinics worldwide as a leading device to aid in rehabilitation programs that address TBI, stroke, and other visual motor and neurocognitive conditions. Numerous programmable options facilitate individualized treatment planning. Performance data is quantitative and objective for accurate baseline evaluation and progress monitoring. The programs used with DynaVision improve cognitive processing ability, balance and functional mobility. It also trains gross motor skills, expands peripheral awareness, trains reaction time and develops enhanced balance. Users benefit from better decision-making and concentration under stress.