| Vision Therapy and Concussions
Allison D. Lyerly, OD
Carolina Center for Eye Care
Dr. Allison Lyerly is an optometrist with Carolina Center for Eye Care. She has a passion for children and a wealth of experience with visual problems that can benefit from vision therapy. If you or your child is experiencing difficulty with visual tasks post concussion, or if you have questions on how vision therapy would benefit you/your child, please feel free to contact Dr. Lyerly.
Advance: (336) 940-2015
Lewisville: (336) 946-0203
Concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury, especially among children. These injuries change the way your brain functions. Roughly 67% of the neural connections within the brain are involved with some aspect of vision. Therefore, vision problems are very common following an acquired brain injury. Many vision issues that occur after a concussion are almost NEVER evident on MRI scans; but are very real and disturbing to the patient.
Listed below are several potential visual side effects of a concussion. Some of these may improve with time, others may be unchanging, while others respond very well to active treatment.
Concussions can have the following effects on the visual system:
Accommodative Insufficiency – This condition is a reduction in eye focusing ability that results in blurry vision at near. Near vision may be constantly blurry or may pulse in and out of clarity during near activities like reading. Accommodative insufficiency is the most common visual side effect of a concussion.
Blurry Vision - Blurry vision following a concussion can occur at distance, near, or both.
Convergence Insufficiency – This condition is the inability to use the eyes comfortably at near. It can result in a number of symptoms including: headaches, eyestrain, fatigue, and often double vision during near activities. Covergence insufficiency and accommodative insufficiency often occur together.
Double Vision – There are several causes of double vision, which is why anyone who sees double (even intermittently) should contact their optometrist right away.
Light Sensitivity – Light sensitivity can result from various types of acquired brain injuries (including concussions).
Ocular-Motor Dysfunction – This condition is a deficiency in eye movement, or eye teaming.
Reduced Cognitive Abilities With Visual Tasks - Visual perceptual deficits can be a result of concussions and have an effect on academic and even athletic success.
Reduced Visual Processing Speed or Reaction Time – Prolonged visual processing speed can slow down an athlete both on and off the field. The speed with which an athlete processes visual information affects many aspects of athletic competition. These may include: reading the field of play, judging the speed of a moving ball or puck, and judging the speed of other players on the field.
Many of the visual conditions that result from a concussion can be successfully managed by a doctor with both knowledge and experience in the areas of neuro-optometry, binocular vision, and vision therapy.
Your optometrist can determine if glasses, contact lenses, vision therapy, or a combination of treatments is best to address your visual condition(s). Most of the common visual effects of mild traumatic brain injury (accommodative insufficiency, convergence insufficiency, and ocular motor dysfunction) are all conditions that respond well to vision therapy.
Helpful Website Links Discussing the Benefits of Vision Therapy and Post Concussion Syndrome
Vision Performance Center (Atlanta, GA)
Wow Vision Therapy (St. Joseph, MI) **Includes great informational videos**
College of Optometrists in Vision Development Blog