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Feb 19

Vision and Concussions

According to the July 2015 issue of Clinical Pediatrics, 70% of kids who have suffered a concussion have trouble with focusing, eye coordination and eye movement problems. This is a large concern of parents, many of who are speaking out about the issues they are facing (and have faced) with hopes that others will be helped by their stories and experiences.

The trouble, it seems, with concussion and vision problems is determining which doctors are best equipped to address the issues these children face post injury. Many optometrists are unfamiliar with the neurological problems that are connected with the vision difficulties, and often neurologists are not skilled or educated thoroughly in the science of vision. This creates a dilemma for parents who are looking for the right doctor to treat their child’s specific problem. It results in a sort of no-man’s land for treatment of the symptoms.

If your child has withstood a concussion and you are concerned about their wellbeing after the injury, there are some clear pointers which may indicate an ongoing vision problem that may need to be addressed. Post-concussion, some of the signs to look for in a child which indicate vision related issues are struggles in the area of reading: slower pace, having to re-read passages etc. Often these issues are accompanied by headaches and even double vision. What happens after a concussion is often disconnect between what is seen and what is processed by the brain. Often the only treatment for such struggles require vision therapy in order to correct the underlying issue. This therapy is not offered in all eye-clinics and is not practiced by all optometrists and neurologists which leaves parents and patients frustrated by the lack of direction and solutions for the struggles they are facing.

Contact sports, such as Soccer or Football, are some of the biggest culprits of concussion and other brain injuries. There are so many instances of students sustaining brain injuries who are then affected by vision problems which go untreated for years before finding the right treatment or therapy. One of the most effective forms of treatment for such maladies is through optometrist who are familiar with, or specialize in, developmental optometry.

Developmental optometry addresses many issues, but double vision is one in particular that is a key focus. Some optometrists rely on time and nature to fix the problem of double vision, however in recent years it has been proven that double vision can be corrected much faster though vision therapy under the observation and guidance of developmental optometrist. This is great news, especially for children who face the many challenges that can persists after injures such as a concussion.

Omni Vision and Learning Center’s Dr. Mary Gregory, O.D., FCOVD, has significant training as a neuro-developmental optometrist and specialist in the area of concussions and brain injury. For more information about concussions and vision struggles, please feel free to contact our office.