Vision Conditions After a Concussion

Vision Conditions After a Concussion

Concussions are one of the most common brain injuries today, especially among athletes. We constantly hear about athletes taking a game or two off to recover from a concussion. It is such a normal occurrence that it’s like we think of concussions as harmless as the common cold.

Of course, repeated concussions can severely damage your eyesight. You may not be able to revert back to your normal vision. Sight and the brain are so closely intertwined that pretty much any brain trauma will inevitably affect your vision. Before we get to that, let’s have a look at what causes concussions and how to identify them.

Understanding Concussions

The term “concussion” was first mentioned in ancient Greek medical records. It was thought to be a commotion of the brain, where the brain rattles around in the skull. Unlike other brain injuries, humans throughout history seemed to have a good understanding of concussions and the symptoms.

Tenth-century Persian physicist, Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi accurately described the symptoms and risks associated with concussions. He stated that concussions cause loss of brain function without any permanent physical damage. This understanding of concussions set the tone for future professionals who studied the subject.

Concussions, like the ancient Greeks suspected, are indeed a “rattling” of the brain after impact. However, it’s less of a rattle and more of a shake. Our brain is a soft organ that has our skull and fluid to act as a cushion. Sometimes the head sustains a hit or hard impact that causes a whiplash type of effect.

When this happens, the brain shakes and crashes into the skull. The fluid between the brain and the skull is not thick enough to cushion the collision. Concussions are considered to be mild brain trauma injuries.

Vision Conditions After a ConcussionA concussion can happen anywhere. While playing a sport, after a fall, at the playground, after a car accident, or from a bike accident. As common as concussions are, they aren’t always easy to identify.

Concussion Symptoms

Many think that if you don’t lose consciousness after being hit in the head, then you don’t have a concussion. This is false. Those who are concussed don’t always lose consciousness. If you or someone else sustains a blow to the head, stop what you’re doing. It’s important to look for the signs of a concussion as they can sometimes fly under the radar.

If you don’t treat a concussion right away, complications can arise and cause more severe cognitive issues. So, if you recognize concussion symptoms in yourself or someone else, contact a doctor immediately.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Unable to remember new information
  • Easily irritable or angered
  • Lack of concentration
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision

Look out for these symptoms in children especially. They may not be able to recognize the symptoms as a concussion but rather another feeling.

Concussions and Vision Problems

As a brain injury, concussions directly affect a person’s eyesight. It’s hard to say how often concussions compromise vision though because we tend to overlook vision.

The main goal in treating a concussion is to make sure the brain gets the rest it needs to restore function. People with concussions should limit screen time (including watching TV) and avoid vigorous physical activity. Sometimes, applying ice to the area of impact can help reduce swelling.

However good this advice is, it offers no solution to those with eyesight complications brought on by a concussion. Luckily, your eyesight will likely go back to normal once the concussion has healed.

In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help your vision during the healing period:

Visit the Eye Doctor

If you have a concussion, the next step in your healing process should be to book an appointment with your eye doctor. An eye exam is necessary to be sure that the concussion didn’t cause any permanent damage to your eyesight.

An eye exam performed by an eye doctor and not a general physician is extremely important. Typically, a doctor will administer a very basic, bare minimum type of test to check for concussion. The test consists of the doctor standing at arm’s length and waving a finger around asking, “Can you see this?”

If the answer is yes, then that is it for the eye tests. Sure, it’s a good test to make sure the concussion didn’t cause blindness. However, it fails to check deep within the eye for refractive errors or sensitivity issues caused by the concussion.

You need a more comprehensive exam to make sure that all is well with the eyes. If you have a more severe problem than blurred vision, your eye doctor will take you through the steps of healing.

Dealing with Loss of Visual Acuity

A concussion can trigger a loss of visual acuity, which can seem like blurred vision. Visual acuity is what provides us with precise vision. Someone who needs eyeglasses will have low visual acuity. Hence the need for the glasses to enhance the preciseness of their vision.

When someone with a concussion experiences a loss in visual acuity, they need to be treated with proper magnifying tools. Some may opt for a simple magnifying glass for reading. Others will get fitted for temporary prescription glasses. The latter is the more expensive option.

A brain injury affects everyone differently. There is no telling if this vision condition will persist after the brain has healed. Most will find that their vision restores itself, but some people may experience visual acuity issues long after the brain heals.

When this happens, vision therapy can help in the rehabilitation process. Vision therapy is a supervised medical process to naturally reduce symptoms of various vision conditions.

Concussions are common, but that doesn’t mean we should consider them normal. They can seriously affect your vision. Protect your head from injuries by wearing the proper head gear such as helmets, hard hats, and other head protectors.

About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics with the dreams of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he and his brother decided to start Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent over a decade studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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2 responses to “Vision Conditions After a Concussion”

  1. Avatar for Gene Gene says:

    Greetings Tyler,…Thnx for hitting th nail right on th head. I know friends who have had a concussion. I have noticed over th yrs that we do exactly as you have mentioned. We ignore our over all health way too much. It seems we just do not realize how complicated & wonderfully made are these awesome bodies. Especially our brain & eyes. We sometimes treat our bodies like rags. If I could, I wld eliminate all boxing, & tackle football. Really,..there is so much more to life than that,…w/all th brain injuries, loss of sight & cognitive ability, & ruined lives that we normally don’t even hear about. … I feel that there shld definitely be much more “good health” practices taught in school, & especially at home, & at an earlier age,..& then continued all through the upper grades, but especially re: th eyes. We seemingly just don’t realize how so very important is our vision for maintaining even a somewhat normal & happy life. You might have guessed by now…yes, I am blind in one eye, & blurry in th other, & yes, I am older,..85, but people in Hunza, & other similar places have perfect eye sight, perfect teeth, & over all good health, living to well over a hundred, etc. I just read of one little fellow, some place, that lived well over 100, & had several wives. I don’t think he wobbled around on crutches, or a walker, or a cane, or bumped into trees, or tripped over rocks every day. He had good health, & especially good vision, & cognitive where-with-all. Thnx for all yr help! … By th way, I did quit boxing, & football in hi-school, & took up fishing & hunting…not only had more fun in a healthier way, but also brought home th meat! 🙂 Gene W. 🙂

  2. Avatar for Renee Baxter Renee Baxter says:

    Have you ever heard of someone having drastically improved far vision after a fall that more or less shook the brain ? I fell and the pint of impact was my chin and it was hard enough to puncture the chin and I did see stars and not sure if I lost consciousness or not . When I did realize what I had done I had broken my knee cap into and had to have emergency surgery and my chin bled quiet a bit . I landed face first with the upper body total impact being my chin . My far vision at the point of the fall required 2.50 magnification which I had just gotten a new prescription four months prior to the fall . Immediately after I came home from the hospital stay about 5 days I noticed I could no longer see far away with my glasses . I did go to the doctor about four months later and my new vision test showed that my left eye no longer required any manginfication at all and my right only a small amount which was a drastic drastic change . I had been wearing glasss for this up to this point for at least 20 years prior to the fall . Could this have been the result of a concussion ? I have had an increase in migraines since the fall I did have them occasionally before the fall !

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