Essentially, acquired brain injury is an insult to the brain and can come in many forms, including: traumatic brain injury, closed head injury, cervical trauma syndrome and/or stroke. This can produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness, and may result in impairment of cognitive abilities, sensory processing and/or physical function. Impairments may be mild or severe, and most are amenable to rehabilitation. SIGHTvt professionals are specifically trained to work with acquired brain injury patients and can help improve the flow and processing of information between the eyes and the brain. Below you will find common vision conditions that present as the result of brain injury.
Functional Problems and Traumatic/Acquired Brain Injury:
Visual Field Loss
With a visual field loss, the patient is literally blind to half of his or her field of vision. This places the person at increased risk of further injury and harm from bumping into objects, being struck by approaching objects, and from falls.
A two-fold approach is used to treat visual field loss. Visual rehabilitation activities are prescribed by Dr. Lambright and administered by the therapist to teach scanning of the hemianopic field loss. In addition to occupational therapy, special visual field awareness prism lenses are used in treating visual field loss. As the patient scans into the prism, the optics are shifted so as to perceptually gain about 15 to 20 degrees of visual field recognition. These are used as spotting devices only to determine if there is an object in the periphery that deserves further visual attention. When such an object is spotted, the patient turns his or her head to view it in detail with his or her intact central vision.
Double Vision (Diplopia)
Double vision (diplopia) is a serious and intolerable condition that can be seen in patients with brain injury, stroke and other neurologically compromising conditions. Prisms, lenses and/or vision therapy can oftentimes help the patient achieve fusion (alignment of the eyes) and alleviate the diplopia. If and when these means are not employed, the patient may adapt by suppressing the vision of one eye to eliminate the diplopia. If lenses, prisms, and/or therapy are not successful and the patient does not suppress, intractable diplopia ensues.
Visual Balance Disorders
Visual balance disorders can be caused by a Visual Midline Shift Syndrome (VMSS), oculo-motor dysfunction in fixations, nystagmus, and disruptions of central and peripheral visual processing. Lenses, prisms and visual rehabilitation activities are used in the remediation of these disorders.
Reading Problems and Traumatic Brain Injury
Reading problems may occur from various problems after a stroke or head injury. It is crucial that the type of reading problem be diagnosed. The list below contains some of the more common causes of reading problems after brain injury, with introduction to how they may be treated. The problems may occur individually or be part of a constellation of problems related to Post Trauma Vision Syndrome (PTVS). Treatment of PTVS through various neuro-optometric rehabilitative interventions may resolve many problems.