Blurry vision? Double vision? Headaches? Difficulty reading or using a computer? Here’s what you need to know
Concussion and vision issues
Of the 3.6 million concussions reported annually in the U.S., 30-42% of those individuals will have vision issues. The most common types of vision issues (and their symptoms) are:
Convergence Insufficiency (CI) – is when your eyes do not work together when focusing on something near to you. Symptoms can include difficulty reading, eye strain, headaches, double vision and/or squinting or closing one eye[i]
Accommodative Insufficiency (AI) – is when you experience reduced focus during near- vision tasks or transitioning from near to far. Symptoms usually include blurred vision, eye fatigue or discomfort, headache, motion sickness and double vision[ii]
Saccadic Dysfunction (SD) – is when you experience an abnormal delay in starting eye movement, abnormal speed of eye movement or inaccuracy of eye movement. Symptoms are often difficulty focusing, objects appearing to move in the visual field, blurred vision, headaches or eye fatigue[iii]
What’s the solution?
Unfortunately, more often than not, visual disturbances go undiagnosed or unaddressed during treatment following a concussion.
Research supports the effectiveness of treatment through vision therapy and vestibular rehabilitation techniques. So the good news is that vision therapy or eye exercises, prescribed by a trained professional can be extremely successful in a very short period of time.
Treatment is often one to two times per week in the form of a 45 minute in-office session and 15 minute sessions on three to five days per week at home. The typical number of sessions range from 10-20, mostly depending on the time since the concussion.[iv]
Does it work?
It sure does! Some jaw-dropping success rates were recently reported[v]
85% of those diagnosed with CI had a successful outcome and 15% experienced improvement (that’s improvement in 100% of people taking the treatment!)
AI issues were also improved in a large majority of subjects (67%) and the other 33% had a successful outcome (another 100% improvement rate)
SD issues were successfully addressed in 85% of participants and improved in an additional 5% (90% improvement is also not too shabby a result!)
There is hope
If you, or someone you know is experiencing issues like blurry vision, double vision, headaches and/or difficulty reading or using a computer following a concussion reach out to a trained concussion therapist in your community.
An appropriately trained clinician can identify the issues and guide the journey to recovery. Lifemark’s national roster of concussion therapists (120+ and growing) have post-graduate training, and can treat a multitude of post-concussion symptoms and problems, including vision issues.
[iv] Optom Vis Sci. 2016 Aug 8. [Epub ahead of print] Vision Therapy for Post-Concussion Vision Disorders. Gallaway M1, Scheiman M, Mitchell GL.
[v] Optom Vis Sci. 2016 Aug 8. [Epub ahead of print] Vision Therapy for Post-Concussion Vision Disorders. Gallaway M1, Scheiman M, Mitchell GL.