March is Brain Injury Awareness month, so we at Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons are doing our part to help educate the public about this all-too-common issue. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result from a number of circumstances, including external trauma to the head and rapid shaking or abrupt stopping of motion (even without physical impact). Falls, seizures, sports injuries, and car accidents are some of the more common causes of TBIs, but there are countless ways a TBI can occur. Traumatic brain injuries also have many potential consequences, from mild concussions to serious long-term cognitive impairment. A traumatic brain injury may disrupt the connections between the eyes and the brain, so there are some problems with your vision to look out for—especially if you’ve recently experienced any head trauma.
The vision-health impacts of a traumatic brain injury can vary widely. TBI sufferers may experience symptoms immediately after a head injury, or the effects of their injuries may not become apparent until later. Furthermore, any vision impairments or abnormalities resulting from a head injury may resolve on their own, while others may be long-term or even permanent issues. Nerve fibers send signals from your brain to your retina, and a traumatic brain injury can potentially damage those fibers. Additionally, a brain injury can put pressure on your optic nerve, possibly interfering with blood flow to your retina and leading to vision impairment or loss.
If you’ve recently experienced head trauma (even if it didn’t involve an external blow to the head), be on the lookout for these vision symptoms, which may affect one or both eye(s):
- Eye pain
- Difficulty focusing
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Vision loss or impairment
In the long term, traumatic brain injury may also lead to the following longer-lasting vision problems:
- Difficulty moving one’s eyes in a normal fashion
- Development of a blind spot or difficulty with peripheral vision
- Difficulty interpreting images observed through the eyes
- Loss of sharpness or clarity of vision (visual acuity)
- Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
Appropriate treatments for traumatic brain injury vary significantly, depending on the severity and location of the damage. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and suspect you may have injured your head in some way, see an ophthalmologist, primary care doctor, or other appropriate specialist as soon as possible. The vision-health symptoms of traumatic brain injury are not exclusive to TBI and may indicate a different health issue—perhaps something that’s more appropriately treated by an ophthalmologist than anyone else.
At Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons, we offer high-end contact lenses, prescription glasses with enhancing coatings, and the most cutting-edge technology (such as the LenSx laser system and brand-new Alcon AcrySof® IQ PanOptix® trifocal intraocular lenses). We use our expertise to treat the most common, straightforward vision problems, the rarest, most severe eye-health issues, and everything in between. If you’d like to schedule a comprehensive medical eye exam to check for any other eye-health issues, or you’re interested in any of the many other services or products we offer, contact Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons today. Be sure to follow Dr. William Segal and Dr. Marc Lay on Facebook and Twitter for more eye-care information, fun facts, and the latest news and updates about eye health.