A morning of unexpected karaoke revealed a lovely singing voice from our Deidre de Jongh.  She was invited as a guest on the Jacaranda FM Breakfast Show with Martin Bester but little did she know that it was a karaoke competition.

As always, she handled it with flair and style and as a result, a brand new blue couch was delivered to the practice as prize!  (Photo’s of the couch will be posted in our June newsletter)

Although it was all seemed like fun and games, the reason for her participation was also to create awareness of vision disruption after stroke.  When the singing was done, the presenters all donned a pair of vision simulator goggles.

Behind the vision simulator goggles, Martin Bester, Liesl Laurie & Elma Smit all keep up happy & brave faces just like our patients do.

They experienced the world as our patients do – double vision, blurred vision, light sensitivity, problems with reading, poor concentration and poor balance.  We can assist with all these symptoms.

 

Concussion and vision

Stroke is not the only cause of Traumatic brain injury.  Concussion occurs via a direct blow to the head or whiplash where the impact causes the brain to hit against the inside of the skull causing brain bruising. 10-20% of concussions result in symptoms that can last weeks, months, or more.

Recent research suggests that over 50% of patients with concussion or post-concussion syndrome have visual problems that may cause headaches, eye headaches, double vision, eye strain or blurred vision. It may even cause students to have decreased reading speed and comprehension.

A CONCUSSION IS A FORM OF MILD TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Symptoms of concussion:

Vision Related:
Light sensitivity, Blurred Vision, Double vision, Loss of place when reading

Other:
Confusion, Headache, Disorientation, Vomiting and/or Nausea,
Unsteadiness, Post-traumatic amnesia, Dizziness

When these symptoms persist, a condition known as post-concussion syndrome occurs.

Vision problems after concussion and traumatic brain injury

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation represents a specific area of optometry, which addresses deficits in eye-teaming, focusing, visual tracking, visual processing problems, and related visual problems. These problems are common with patients who have concussion and other forms of acquired brain injury. Treatment involves spectacle lens prescriptions, prisms, filters, and special tints which can provide symptomatic relief.

In addition, vision therapy is also a powerful form of neuro-optometric rehabilitation. Vision therapy entails a variety of non-surgical therapeutic procedures designed to modify different aspects of visual function. Vision therapy typically involves a series of treatments during which carefully planned activities are carried out by the patient under professional supervision in order to relieve the visual problem. The specific procedures and instrumentation utilized are determined by the nature and severity of the diagnosed condition. Vision therapy is not instituted to simply strengthen eye muscles, but rather is generally done to treat functional deficiencies in order for the patient to achieve optimal efficiency and comfort.

The two big categories of vision problems due to TBI are visual acuity loss and visual field loss.

Visual acuity loss.
If a person wears prescription glasses and takes them off, he will have a loss of acuity — or clarity. With brain injury, people can have a relatively small visual acuity loss or significant loss.
Visual acuity loss results from damage to the eye, the nerve fibers that carry signals from the retina in the eye to the brain, or to the visual cortex. This loss can sometimes be effectively treated with glasses, magnifiers, or electronic reading aids such as closed-circuit televisions. How much the loss impacts an individual’s life depends on the degree of the loss.

Visual field loss
This can be compared to a pie. Visual field loss is categorized by which part of the pie is affected.
• If you have hemianopsia, half of your pie — or visual field, either vertically or horizontally — is gone; you cannot see it.
• If you have quadranopsia, a quarter of your visual field is lost.
• If you have homonymous hemianopsia, the same quarter or half is lost in both eyes.
• If you have bitemporal hemianopsia, you are missing the outer half (or inner half) of both the right and left visual field.

Hemianopsia and quadranopsia are the most common types of visual field losses; but going back to the pie analogy, other types of field losses include loss around the edges of the pie or loss from the middle going outward. And, of course, there can be differing combinations depending upon the individual injury.

Visual field loss is caused by damage to the nerve fibers that carry the visual signal from the eyes to the visual cortex and/or connect operations between different parts of the brain.

Are these vision problems temporary or permanent?

Deidre de Jongh is our Neuro Vision Optometrist and together with our Visual Therapist, they have the opportunity to retrain the visual system to help eliminate the visual symptoms most commonly associated with post-concussion syndrome.  This is done through a program of neuro-optometric rehabilitation.  Just like people, all brain injuries are unique, and that includes the process of recovery.   After a brain injury, once the person is medically stable and doing physical therapy, we can start visual rehabilitation. Vision is integrated into other problems that can occur post-TBI like muscular imbalance and vestibular problems – dizziness, imbalance, vertigo, etc.

Eyemind Inc together with De Jongh Optometry assists people suffering from vision problems after concussion, stroke and other traumatic brain injuries as well as vestibular problems.

If you or a loved one suffered a concussion, stroke or any other brain injury, phone us to book your Neuro Vision Evaluation or  in order for us to provide you with our excellent care.
012 998 7592/3 or Online