Vision Issues After a TBI

Vision issues are common following a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This isn’t just because our windows to the world, our eyes, are located near our brain. It’s because vision and vision-related functions are processed through all four of the brain’s lobes. This creates greater opportunity for vision impairment after sustaining a TBI. 

The brain’s four lobes are the segments that make up the brain: the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe, and the occipital lobe. The occipital lobe, located in the back of the brain, is where the main vision tasks occur. Some even call it “the vision center.” All of the images we see are processed in this lobe. However, the parietal lobe and temporal lobe each have a hand in vision tasks as well.

The parietal lobe helps with things that involve the physical space that is around us, such as depth perception, navigation, and even movement. Meanwhile the temporal lobe is in charge of memory, so it’s responsible for banking the things we see and helping us remember what they’re there for. There’s still not a lot of concrete information on the frontal lobe’s role in vision. However, recent studies indicate that the frontal lobe helps the eyes focus, and stay focused, on the correct object in your line of sight. 

One thing is for sure, vision is an all-hands-on-deck task for the brain. When a brain injury occurs, vision can be affected and impaired in many different ways depending on which part(s) of the brain the injury affects. It’s estimated that up to 40% of people who sustain a brain injury experience vision issues. Some of those vision issues commonly include blurred vision, double vision, and decreased peripheral vision. 

Blurred vision can be caused by visual acuity loss, which is similar to what a person with prescription glasses sees when they take them off. It’s important to note that this varies from person to person, just like vision impairment after TBI. For some, it may be minor, but for others it can be major. In certain cases, this loss can be treated with either prescription glasses, magnifiers like those found at a drug store, or electronic reading aids (like closed captioning on a video). 

Decreased peripheral vision on the other hand falls under visual field loss, which can be more complicated. There are a range of ways that visual field loss can manifest, such as hemianopsia, which means that half of the vision field, either vertically or horizontally, is gone. In quadranopsia, a quarter of the visual field is gone. Sometimes these impairments can be rehabilitated and the lost or impaired vision can be restored. But it’s all on a case-by-case basis. Remember, no two brain injuries are the same, and that extends to symptoms as well. 

Vision therapy is a common part of treatment plans devised for our heroes who are treated at the Intrepid Spirit Centers we’ve built. Each center is equipped with the latest technology to help the centers’ vision therapists provide the highest level diagnostics and care to our military heroes. Intrepid Spirit Centers are built through donations by the public. Your support makes them possible. Please consider a donation today.

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Posted on July 6 2021 in Blog

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