Focus on the Eyes

No two people will experience a concussion in the same way. There are a number of different symptoms that patients will experience, such as physical symptoms (headaches, fatigue, dizziness), cognitive issues (attention, concentration) and emotional disturbances (irritable, sadness). One area of recent interest is concussion related visual dysfunction. The visual system is largely interconnected with most areas of the brain (roughly 60%), as such, following a concussion, specific visual areas of the brain, as well as integrative pathways, can be affected, resulting in visual dysfunction.

The prevalence of visual dysfunctions post concussion is roughly 40% in adults. Concussion related visual dysfunctions can involve impairments to eye movements, eye reflexes, visual tracking, focusing and pupil function. Unless an individual is assessed properly post concussion, these dysfunctions generally get missed, since most individuals are not aware that their symptoms may be coming from their eyes and visual integration system. Occasionally symptoms are specific to the eyes (blurred vision, sensitivity to light, eye fatigue, lack of visual clarity, etc.). However, often the symptoms are vague, with the most common visual dysfunction symptom being having difficulty reading, as it requires eye coordination, clarity and focus in order to be done with ease. Post concussion, many adults and adolescents have trouble returning to school or their job due to issues with reading, using computers, light sensitivity and focusing. As such, it is important when choosing a health care provider following a concussion that they assess all aspects of the brain, including the visual system. Recognition of these dysfunctions is essential for recovery, as well as return to work, school and sport.

At Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine all concussion patients are thoroughly assessed for visual impairments with a series of clinical tests. From these findings treatment is specific to the visual deficit present. If you or someone you know is struggling with concussion symptoms, book an assessment with one of the therapists at Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine in order to help pinpoint the origin of these symptoms.

Master et al., (2015). Vision Diagnoses are common after concussion in adolescents. Clinical Pediatrics. 1-8.