Very few in the health care professions, including head trauma rehabilitation centers, are adequately aware of visual problems resulting from Acquired Brain Injury and the visual-perceptual consequences. Unfortunately this creates a gap in rehabilitative services, resulting in incomplete treatment and frustration for the patient, family and treatment team.
Vision care professionals can play an important role in the rehabilitation effort. Through vision therapy and the proper use of lenses, a behavioral optometrist, specifically trained to work with Acquired Brain Injury patients, can help improve the flow and processing of information between the eyes and the brain.
Vision therapy can be very practical and effective. After evaluation, examination and consultation, the optometrist determines how a person processes information after an injury and where that person's strengths and weaknesses lie. The optometrist then prescribes a treatment regimen incorporating lenses, prisms, low vision aides and specific activities designed to improve control of a person's visual system and increase vision efficiency. This in turn can help support many other activities in daily living.
Acquired Brain Injury can come in many forms. Below are some common diagnoses:
Essentially, Acquired Brain Injury is an insult to the brain. It can result from a blow to the head, stroke, or neurological dysfunction. 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; most are amenable to rehabilitation. Specific effects can be:
Often, visual problems resulting from Acquired Brain Injury are overlooked during initial treatment of the injury. Frequently these problems are hidden and neglected, lengthening and impairing rehabilitation.
Vision is the most important source of sensory information. Consisting of a sophisticated complex of subsystems, the visual process involves the flow and processing of information to the brain. Due to the close relationship between vision and the brain, Acquired Brain Injury can significantly interfere with the visual flow and processing of information. The result is a vision problem. Symptoms indicating a vision problem are: