Can a Concussion Cause Vision Problems?

by May 10, 2024

Concussion, often referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury, can lead to a wide range of symptoms affecting various aspects of neurological function, including vision. Understanding the potential impact of a concussion on vision is essential for recognizing and addressing vision problems that may arise following a head injury.


How Can a Concussion Cause Vision Problems

Following a concussion, individuals may experience a variety of visual disturbances such as blurred vision, double vision, sensitivity to light (photophobia), difficulty focusing, and visual tracking issues. These symptoms can significantly impair visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, depth perception, and overall visual processing, leading to challenges in daily activities that require clear and accurate vision.


Optic Nerve and Visual Pathway

The optic nerve plays a crucial role in transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain for processing. In the context of a concussion, direct or indirect trauma to the head can affect the optic nerve and the visual pathway, leading to disruptions in signal transmission, visual processing speed, and integration of visual stimuli. Damage to the optic nerve can result in vision problems that manifest as part of post-concussion syndrome.


Visual Field Deficits

Concussions can also give rise to visual field deficits, where individuals may experience blind spots, tunnel vision, or peripheral vision loss. These deficits can impact awareness of surrounding objects, navigation in the environment, and reaction to visual stimuli, posing challenges in situations requiring periphery vision, such as driving or sports activities.


Ocular Alignment and Eye Movement

Concussion-related vision problems may extend to ocular alignment and eye movement coordination. Strabismus, a condition characterized by misalignment of the eyes, or difficulties in coordinating eye movements (vergence and saccades) can occur following a head injury, contributing to visual discomfort, diplopia (double vision), and challenges in eye teaming and tracking.


Visual Processing Speed and Attention

Impairments in visual processing speed and attention are common sequelae of concussions and can impact the efficiency of visual perception and integration of sensory information. Individuals may experience delays in recognizing and interpreting visual stimuli, reduced visual attention span, and difficulties in multitasking or processing complex visual scenes, affecting various visual tasks and activities.


Recovery and Rehabilitation

Addressing vision problems post-concussion often involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes assessment by an eye care specialist or neuro-optometrist, neurocognitive testing, and vision therapy. Rehabilitation strategies may focus on improving visual acuity, eye tracking, visual field awareness, binocular vision, and visual processing speed through targeted exercises, prism lenses, and vision training programs tailored to individual needs.


Long-Term Implications

While many individuals recover from concussion-related vision problems within a few weeks to months, some may experience persistent visual issues that impact daily functioning and quality of life. Long-term monitoring, follow-up evaluations, and ongoing management of vision problems post-concussion are essential to address evolving symptoms, optimize visual outcomes, and support overall recovery and well-being.


Addressing Vision Problems Post-Concussion

Concussion can indeed cause a range of vision problems due to its impact on visual pathways, ocular function, and neurological processes. Recognizing the associations between concussion and vision disturbances, seeking timely evaluation by healthcare professionals, and engaging in targeted rehabilitation strategies can help individuals with post-concussion vision problems recover visual function, improve quality of life, and navigate the challenges of concussion-related visual impairments effectively. By fostering awareness, collaboration between medical experts, and personalized care, individuals can address vision problems post-concussion comprehensively and work towards optimal visual health and well-being following a head injury.


Our eye doctors at Neal Eye Group in Conshohocken, PA excel in the prescription of contact lenses, glasses and various eye diseases.  Call our optometrists at (610) 828-9701 or schedule an appointment online if you would like to learn more about whether a concussion cause vision problems. Our optometrists provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Conshohocken, Norristown, Plymouth Meeting, Lafayette Hill, and Philadelphia.

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