Behavioural optometry deals with improving the integrity, efficiency and processing of your vision. Vision is one of our primary senses and is used to derive meaning from what is seen in our environment. Studies estimate more than 50% of the brain’s function is involved with vision. This means that any neurological injury, such as a concussion, can result in a visual dysfunction. Many individuals who have sustained a concussion continue to have 20/20 vision yet still experience visual symptoms due to a disruption in their binocular vision.
Binocular vision is the ability to use both (bi) eyes (ocular) together effectively at the same time. In order to do this, we need our “visual skills” to work at their optimal levels. These visual skills include
1. Eye-focusing: keeping images in perfect clarity
2. Eye-teaming: having both eyes fixate on the same object
3. Eye-tracking: being able to look rapidly from one object to the other, or watch smooth moving objects
The efficiency of these visual systems and how well they work with each other influences how we collect and process information.
The following symptoms are commonly associated with a visual problems post-concussion:
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Eye strain, fatigue, or “pulling/tugging” sensation around the eyes
- Difficulty with reading/computer work
- Difficulty with reading comprehension
- Inability to sustain near work or reading for periods of time
- Difficulty copying or taking notes
- Slow shift of focus from near-to-far or far-to-near
- Difficulty with concentration and attention
- Inability to tolerate busy or crowded environments
- Confusion or disorientation
- Difficulties with balance or coordination
- Clumsy or bumping into objects when walking
- A sensation of the floor, ceiling, or walls tilting
- A sensation of not feeling grounded
- Postural shifts/veering off when walking
- Difficulty with memory
Treatment for visual difficulty after a concussion includes the use of lenses, prism, tint, and vision therapy. Vision therapy is a treatment program that uses “eye-exercises” to assist in rehabilitation of the visual system. These exercises are prescribed and monitored by an optometrist trained in neuro-rehabiliation.
Our behavioural optometrist works cooperatively with our team and protocols to ensure you get the most out of your prescribed lenses and vision therapy. The importance of vision therapy in the context of a multi-disciplinary, coordinated program has been illustrated in our blog.
For more information on the visual difficulties that can occur following a concussion, please refer to our Concussion Topic Library.
Our York Region medical clinic offers integrative vision therapy at our Aurora rehabilitation centre. At our Thornhill rehab location, located at the border of Markham and Vaughan, vision therapy is offered more easily accessible to patients coming from the south.
Research & writing: Dr. Mona Ubhi
Last update: March 2018