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Neuro Optometry

4 Tips To Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury

4 Tips To Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury 640×350A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma, typically a sudden bump or blow to the head.

Concussions — a mild form of brain injury — are very common and represent approximately 80% of all TBI incidents. A concussion is a temporary loss of brain function caused by the brain bouncing around in fast motion within the skull, sometimes producing chemical changes or damaging the functioning of the brain cells.

Moderate to severe TBIs can cause loss of consciousness— from a few minutes to several hours.

Any TBI, whether mild or severe, can affect cognitive abilities and cause visual symptoms such as:

  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Partial or total loss of vision
  • Weakened eye muscles

4 Tips for Avoiding a Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the best ways to protect yourself from a concussion or more serious TBI is to put safety first, whatever your activity.

Wear Protective Sports Gear

Approximately 69 million TBIs occur each year worldwide, of which about 50% are sports-related. Wearing protective eyewear and a helmet when playing baseball, football, basketball, hockey or any other sport, can help prevent serious injuries, especially in children.

Wear Sunglasses

Glare from the sun can temporarily blind you while driving, walking across the street — during any activity, really. Wearing sunglasses is a simple way to reduce glare and prevent glare-related accidents.

Polarized sunglasses filter intense light that reflects off surfaces like water, glass, sand, snow and pavement, preventing glare from entering your eyes. Make sure the sunglasses you choose also offer 100% UV protection. Photochromic lenses are a good choice for people who wear prescription glasses since they darken when outdoors and become clear again indoors.

Pay Attention To Your Surroundings

As basic as it may seem, people often fail to pay attention to their surroundings. When walking, driving, or doing any other activity, try to minimize distractions. Stand still while speaking on your cell phone or texting. When you’re walking outside, keep an eye out for sidewalk cracks as well as overhanging branches and other sharp items or debris that could be hazardous.

Don’t Forget to Wear Your Seatbelt

For years, parents and doctors have been drumming this into our heads, and for good reason! The #1 way to prevent or minimize an injury from a car accident is by wearing a seatbelt.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information National Library of Medicine, one-quarter of all TBIs in North America are caused by road accidents. Those numbers rise to more than 50% in Southeast Asia and Africa.

How a TBI Affects Vision

A traumatic brain injury can impair your vision, causing light sensitivity, double or blurry vision, and persistent eye strain. In many cases, activities like reading a book, driving a car or watching TV can become much more challenging — or impossible — as a result of a TBI.

According to Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 90% of TBI patients suffer from visual dysfunction, making it all the more crucial to take precautionary measures to stay safe.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Can Help With Brain Injuries

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a personalized treatment program for patients with visual deficits due to physical disabilities and TBIs. The goal of neuro-optometric rehab is to minimize visual disability so that a patient can continue to perform daily activities, whether it’s learning in a classroom or being able to function in the workplace.

A neuro-optometric rehabilitation optometrist evaluates many functions of the visual system, such as how the eyes work together. Treatment options may include the use of various filters and prisms, and visual exercises to strengthen the brain-eye connection.

If you or a loved one displays double vision, light sensitivity, dizziness or any other TBI-related visual or balance-related symptoms, contact Vision Development of WNY immediately. Following evaluation, Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna may offer a customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to help regain any lost visual skills.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: What Does a Neuro-Optometrist Do?

A: A neuro-optometrist diagnoses general eye health problems and corrects refractive errors to improve visual acuity, as well as assess functional binocularity, spatial vision, and visual processing abilities.

Q: What causes a TBI?

A: Traumatic brain injuries can occur during everyday activities like walking, swimming, hiking, running or playing competitive sports.

The most common causes of TBIs are:

  • Being struck by an object
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Sports injuries


Vision Development of WNY serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, and Western New York, all throughout New York.

 

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Find Out How We Can Help You! 716-300-5269

3 Ways Neuro-Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors

3 Ways Neuro Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors 640Approximately 15 million people around the globe suffer from a stroke each year. An alarming two-thirds of stroke survivors experience some degree of visual dysfunction after the incident.

These problems can range from irritating to debilitating and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and ability to function.

Thankfully, there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from stroke-related vision problems.

At Vision Development of WNY, we are dedicated to helping post-stroke patients heal their visual system for long-lasting relief and a better quality of life.

Below, we’ll explore how a stroke can impact vision and what a neuro-optometrist can do to help.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when insufficient oxygen is delivered to the brain tissue, either due to leaking or bursting blood vessels, or a blockage within the blood vessel.

Serious brain damage can occur within minutes of a stroke, making early intervention crucial.

Signs of a stroke include:

  • Paralysis
  • Numb or weak limbs
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness or loss of coordination

Because a large portion of the brain is involved with vision, a stroke can also affect the eyes and visual processing.

How a Stroke Can Affect Vision

If a stroke occurs in the areas of the brain that control the eye, it can cause:

  • Blurred vision
  • Visual field loss
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nystagmus — rapid, uncontrolled eye movements

When a stroke affects the areas of the brain responsible for visual processing, it can cause:

  • Visual neglect — when the patient ignores stimuli from a portion of their visual field
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Poor depth and movement perception
  • Difficulty recognizing objects or people

3 Ways a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help Stroke Survivors

1. Identify and Diagnose Any Visual Dysfunction

A neuro-optometrist has the training and experience required to thoroughly identify, diagnose and treat even slight visual dysfunction that may be causing symptoms.

Your neuro-optometrist will perform a functional visual evaluation to assess neurological vision-related complications and identify the type of vision loss caused by the stroke.

 

2. Rehabilitate the Visual System

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy includes visual exercises that retrain the brain and eyes to work together.

During a stroke, certain neural connections may become damaged. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation aims to restore those connections and heal the visual system for long-lasting results.

3. Prescribe the Correct Lenses or Prisms, As Needed

A neuro-optometrist can prescribe specialized lenses or prisms that aid in the therapeutic process. Prism lenses shift images into the functioning part of a patient’s visual field, or, in the case of double vision or visual neglect, unite the images the two eyes are sending to the brain. In some cases, prisms can instantly relieve symptoms like disorientation or double vision.

Some patients only visit an occupational therapist or physical therapist after a stroke—and while these therapies are often necessary and helpful, they cannot treat the visual system or prescribe prisms.

How We Can Help

Stroke survivors deserve the best in rehabilitative care. That’s why we are passionate about restoring their independence and offering relief from incapacitating visual symptoms.

Furthermore, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy offers the added benefit of diminishing vertigo and depression and increasing confidence levels.

If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, we can help. To schedule your functional visual evaluation, contact Vision Development of WNY today.

Vision Development of WNY serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, and Western New York, all throughout New York.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: #1: Other than stroke patients, who can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help any person suffering from visual dysfunction after a head injury, traumatic brain injury or stroke, or anyone with neurological conditions that impact their vision. If you experience any symptoms associated with visual dysfunction like dizziness, disorientation, headaches, nausea or difficulty concentrating— it may be time to visit your neuro-optometrist.

Q: #2: Can neuro-optometry help if the stroke occurred months or years ago?

  • A: The best time to start treatment is as soon as possible following a stroke or head injury, but treatment can also be effective years later. The basis of neuro-optometry is neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change and build new neural connections. As long as a person is alive, there is potential to heal their visual system.


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4 Ways Vision May Be Affected Following A Stroke

headache womanAbout 2 in 3 stroke survivors live with some degree of visual dysfunction following the stroke. Although all brains are different and everybody reacts differently, 4 major categories of vision loss can be caused by a stroke.

A stroke can damage any segment of the neural pathway that connects the eyes to the brain or a section of the brain that processes the images the eyes send it. Damage to either area can lead to vision loss.

Stroke-related vision problems can make daily living a challenge, but there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from visual symptoms.

In honor of World Stroke Awareness Month, we’ll explore 4 types of stroke-related visual problems, and how Vision Development of WNY can help.

1. Visual Field Loss

A stroke can damage certain areas of the brain responsible for either central or peripheral vision, causing a portion of the visual field to be lost, causing vision to be ‘blacked-out’ or have ‘blind spots.’

In most cases, the same area of the visual field is lost in both eyes. This condition is called homonymous visual field loss, meaning a person may not be able to see the right or left side of their visual field from each eye.

Affected individuals may have difficulty with reading and may bump into things located in their blind spots.

2. Visual Processing Difficulties

Sometimes, a person may be able to see everything in their visual field but will have problems processing that visual information. For example, they may have the ability to see another person’s face, but might not recognize it. They may also have difficulty identifying or interacting with common objects, affecting daily tasks such as making a cup of coffee.

Visual neglect is the most common type of visual processing problem. People with this condition aren’t aware that they aren’t seeing people or objects on the right or left side of their visual field.

3. Eye Movement Problems

A stroke can damage the delicate nerves that control the eyes’ movements. A person who cannot control their eye nerves may have difficulty moving their eyes in order to shift their focus from one object to the next or have trouble tracking moving objects.

Nystagmus (involuntary and rapid eye movements) is also a possible complication of ocular nerve damage.

If only one eye is affected, the patient will usually experience double or blurred vision. Whether one or both eyes are affected, poor depth perception can result from eye movement dysfunction.

4. Dry Eye Syndrome

Stroke-related muscle weakness is common, especially in the eyes and face. If this occurs, the eyelids may not be able to fully close during blinking or while asleep. This can lead to dry eye syndrome, causing symptoms like red, itchy, watery, burning eyes and light sensitivity.

Fortunately, many of these post-stroke visual symptoms are treatable with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

A customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy program can help you return to your normal routine, or at least make daily life less challenging.

If you or a loved one have suffered a stroke, speak with Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna about getting your vision evaluated to identify deficiencies in the visual system. If a problem is found, we’ll help guide you through all of your treatment options for the best possible outcome.

To schedule your appointment or to learn more about what we offer, call Vision Development of WNY today.

serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, Western New York, and throughout New York.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: #1: What is neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a tailor-made program of visual exercises that train the eyes and brain to work together. Treatment can also include specialized lenses, prisms, and filters.

Q: #2: What other conditions can neuro-optometric rehabilitation treat?

  • A: Neuro-optometry can help patients with visual problems due to traumatic brain injury, stroke, physical disabilities and neurological conditions. A neuro-optometrist can help treat binocular vision disorders (BVD), strabismus, diplopia, oculomotor dysfunction, accommodation and convergence problems, and traumatic visual acuity loss.


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Dr. O’Connor explains how constricted visual field is a condition treated through light therapy

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Hi, we’re here with Dr. O’Connor, who has been a neurodevelopmental or behavioral optometrist for going on 46 years now, Dr. O’Connor, what is one of the most common visual dysfunctions that you see with your patients?

Speaker 2: (00:16)

Overall, we see so many different things, but the one that to me is, is the most frequent one is something called constriction of kinetic or functional visual fields. It’s a little different from when we normally talk about visual fields, which are, as I’m looking straight ahead, I’ve got all this peripheral information coming in and I can deal with that sometimes due to a number of different factors, stress over time toxicity, different types of traumas, emotional or physical trauma, that field you no longer able to deal with all this information out here it’s overwhelming and disorienting and in the brain starts to move and constrict this field to a certain point to protect itself.

And you can no longer use all the information coming in through your eyes in normally happens because of a nervous system being out of balance and because that’s an underlying factor, it’s how we actually remediate this problem. We use something called syntax or light therapy. We use different colors of light to change the balance of the nervous system.

Speaker 1: (01:32)

Okay, great. What would a patient, if a parent was listening to this, how, what would be a clue that their child or themselves might have a restriction of a constricted feeling?

Speaker 2: (01:45)

Certainly we see things out in space, difficulty knowing depth, perception, being clumsy, difficulty, catching a ball. Other times other things are reading when you’re reading problems, especially not being able to find your place when you’re reading your, keep your place. When you’re reading, you’re being able to, look back and forth through a chalkboard and copy things that that’s more difficult.

Speaker 1: (02:07)

Okay. And then I know you have a special test. We’ll save that for another day and evaluation that you perform, but you could you show us what that would look like once you chart that? Sure.

Speaker 2: (02:19)

So a normal visual field, this is being done with one eye at a time at about nine inches of distance. I’m bringing in a little dot out of this black paper, different colors, and we would like to see it almost as soon as that dot gets on the paper person is looking straight ahead using peripheral vision to find out when the dot comes into actually viewed. This is a normal one. Okay. This is someone that I had in the first visual field. This was a young lady. This was her first functional visual field. And you can see how constricted is way out after doing the light therapy for approximately eight weeks, she came back in and this was her new field. Wow. Actually you can tell up here, actually sell the death before I got on the page. Wow.

Speaker 1: (03:17)

That’s amazing. And we have about 20 seconds to wrap up here. Can you tell me what did she notice any change in her symptoms? She

Speaker 2: (03:25)

Noticed huge changes. Number one, she was reading on a whole different level. Number two, her headaches went away, which she hadn’t even talked about in the beginning. Her mother noticed a difference in her behaviors. So again, we’re actually rebalancing the nervous system. And so we see behavioral things, we see emotional things, we see performance

Speaker 1: (03:47)

Thing, academic things. Okay. And social and probably self-confidence

Speaker 2: (03:54)

Self-confidence is huge. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (03:56)

Well, thank you for your time today, Dr. O’Connor. You’re welcome. Thank you. You’re welcome.

Boys With ADHD Are at Higher Risk for Brain Injury & Vision Problems

brother and sister 640Studies show that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur in approximately 17% of males worldwide.

To determine whether there is a link between inattention-hyperactivity and TBIs, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry [analyzed] data from 724 Canadian males aged 6-34. They collected information, examined health files and administered a questionnaire to the participants’ teachers on classroom behavior.

This study is the first to show that childhood behaviors, such as inattention-hyperactivity, predicted TBIs. The study also found that boys having sustained a TBI in childhood were more likely to have another one in adolescence.

In addition to headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, TBIs can also impair one’s visual function, typically causing headaches, blurred and double vision, and dizziness, among other symptoms.

At Vision Development of WNY, we help patients recover their vision through neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. By performing specific eye-training exercises designed to retrain the neural processes of the brain. This rewires the brain (neuroplasticity) and treats discomforts or struggles associated with visual dysfunction following a brain injury.

What Is a TBI and How Can It Affect Vision?

Traumatic brain injury is a disruption in the normal function of the brain caused by a jolt, blow, or bump to the head, or harsh head injury, whether from a sports-related injury, fall, or car accident.

This can significantly impact the functioning of the visual system. While certain brain injuries may cause permanent damage to the optic nerve, it’s more common for it to disrupt communication between the eyes and brain.

Post TBI visual problems may include:

  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Focusing problems
  • Problems with walking and stride

Why Do Boys with Inattention & Hyperactivity Incur More Head Injuries Than Others?

While there’s still a lot we don’t know about the link between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and concussion, research shows a few connections.

Children and adults with ADHD tend to have poor impulse control, inattention, difficulty maintaining attention, and high energy levels, all of which places them at risk of getting a concussion.

Additionally, many children diagnosed with ADHD are encouraged to participate in sports to help with social interaction, self-esteem and hyperactivity. While this is beneficial on many levels, if they have poor visual-motor speed, or depth perception they’re more likely to collide with teammates, potentially causing a concussion.

Lastly, research also suggests that ADHD may involve problems with visual or auditory processing that may also contribute to the risk of concussion.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists offer a customized treatment regimen for people with visual deficits resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). It addresses problems related to eye teaming, tracking, and focusing that can make it difficult to read and complete tasks. By training the brain to communicate with the eyes more effectively, symptoms like dizziness and headaches can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

If your child exhibits ADHD behaviors and has experienced a concussion contact Vision Development of WNY for a comprehensive eye exam. If vision problems are detected, we’ll offer a personalized treatment program to strengthen any lagging visual skills that may be getting in the way of your child’s quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

 

Q: What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation?

  • A: Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation provides a personalized treatment regimen for those who have visual deficits caused by physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological insults. Neuro-optometry makes use of therapeutic prisms, lenses, filters, and specific vision therapy techniques to reteach the damaged parts of the brain to function better.

Q: How Are Vision Problems Found After a TBI?

  • A: Visual aberrations following a brain injury tend to be overlooked during the initial treatment, as the patient may have serious, life-threatening issues that require urgent medical attention. Furthermore, symptoms may not even present themselves until some time has passed following the injury. The earlier you see a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Optometrist, the better.Early diagnosis leads to more efficient treatment.


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What’s the Connection Between Sleep Apnea, Concussion, and Your Vision?

Sleep Apnea 640A recent comprehensive sleep study on people with post-concussion syndrome showed that 78% were diagnosed with sleep apnea.

What came first: the concussion or sleep apnea? Determining the answer can be difficult. People who don’t get enough sleep already exhibit some of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome even when they haven’t had one.

What we do know is that there is a connection between sleep apnea and concussion. Sleep apnea affects the recovery from a concussion, and at the same time, the condition may result from a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Where does vision come in?

Sleep Apnea and Concussions

For those having sustained a concussion, sleep is very important for a speedy and thorough recovery. A poor night’s sleep, as in the case of sleep apnea, may lead to impaired decision-making, cognitive loss, and symptoms of depression—all of which can interrupt the recovery process.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of sleep apnea, is caused by a physical collapse or blockage of the upper airway that interrupts breathing during sleep. This also reduces blood and oxygen flow to the brain, making it difficult for those with a concussion to recover.

A lesser known type of apnea is central sleep apnea. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, this type is caused by a dysfunction in the brain that regulates breathing and sleep, which could also be affected by a TBI.

Sleep Apnea and Vision

As we all know, getting a good night’s sleep is essential to good health. There are a number of eye conditions that are exacerbated by poor sleep patterns and therefore may be associated with sleep apnea.

These include:

  • Floppy eyelid syndrome
  • Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy
  • Papilledema
  • Glaucoma
  • Swelling of the optic nerve
  • Retinal conditions

Getting your eyes checked regularly is important as it allows your eye doctor to rule out any eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss. This is all the more important if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Concussions and Vision

Concussions can have a significant impact on the functioning of the visual system. Post-trauma vision syndrome is a group of symptoms that cause eye coordination problems, dizziness, and blurred vision after a concussion.

The symptoms of post-trauma vision syndrome can include:

  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Focusing problems
  • Problems with walking and stride

Severe concussions can cause double vision and blindness, while mild concussions can affect vision and cause visual dysfunction.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists can help post-TBI patients in ways that other health care providers may not be able to.

Neuro-optometry deals with how the visual system impacts daily functioning. By training the brain to control and communicate with the eyes more effectively, symptoms like headaches and dizziness can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

If you have experienced a concussion or suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact Vision Development of WNY to follow up on a diagnosis and treatment for any vision problems you may be having due to either condition.

Vision Development of WNY serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, and Western New York, all throughout New York.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dick O'Connor & Dr. Alyssa Fortuna

Q: What’s the connection between sleep apnea, concussion, and your vision?

  • A: After sustaining a concussion, you may begin to experience sleep apnea. This not only affects the healing process but your vision as well.

Q: Is there a way to treat vision problems due to a concussion?

  • A: Yes. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can retrain the brain to relieve dizziness, headaches, double vision, and other TBI-related problems.


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Find Out How We Can Help You! 716-300-5269

Tips to Avoid a Concussion or TBI

close up eye lips 640

The complexity of the brain is truly fascinating; any slight change in its chemistry or structural integrity can result in a multitude of health problems, such as visual disturbances or permanent vision loss. This can affect everyday activities such as driving, walking, reading, using a computer, and staying focused. Below we’ll discuss what traumatic brain injury is and how to avoid one.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma, typically a sudden blow or bump to the head.

Concussions — a mild form of brain injury — are very common and makeup 75% of all TBI incidents. A concussion involves a short loss of normal brain function, as the hit can cause the brain to bounce around in rapid motion within the skull, occasionally causing chemical changes or damaging brain cells.

Moderate to severe TBIs cause the victim to lose consciousness from a few minutes to several hours. This can impact cognitive capacity along with other visual symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty reading and writing
  • Partial or total loss of vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Weakened eye muscles

There are numerous ways a TBI can occur, most of which are activities most of us do on a daily basis.

What Causes Traumatic Brain Injury?

Head injuries that cause TBI can happen during everyday activities such as running, hiking, swimming, or competitive sports.

The most common causes of TBIs are:

  • Sports injuries
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Being struck by an object

TBIs are more common than one would expect, affecting 10 million individuals around the globe annually. Below we’ll discuss what steps to take in order to prevent a TBI.

Tips for Avoiding Concussion and TBI

ski kidsOne of the best ways to protect against a concussion or TBI is to avoid any risky behavior. While this isn’t always possible, there are some steps you can take to protect your brain and eyes from trauma and damage.

Here are our top four tips:

1) Wear Protective Sports Gear

There are 3.8 million TBIs occurring each year in the US, and 20% are from sports. Wearing protective helmets and eyewear when playing basketball, baseball, or football can help prevent serious injuries, especially in children.

Speak with Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna about shatter-resistant polycarbonate or Trivex lenses, known for their impact-resistant materials.

2) Wear Sunglasses

Sun glare can cause momentary blindness. It’s that quick second of feeling blinded by the sun while you’re outside, driving in a car, or at the beach that can make you vulnerable to injury. An easy way to guard against this is by wearing sunglasses.

Sunglasses with polarized lenses prevent glare from entering your eyes by blocking strong light that reflects off surfaces such as glass, water, snow, sand, or pavement. Make sure that the sunglasses you choose contain 100% UV-blocking protection. Photochromic lenses are a smart option for those with prescription eyeglasses, as they darken when outside and revert back to clear lenses when indoors.

3) Pay Attention To Your Surroundings

As obvious as this may sound, people often forget to pay close attention to their surrounding environment. We all know that talking on the phone or texting while driving is dangerous, but being unaware of what’s happening around you can pose certain risks as well. Try to reduce your distractions when walking, driving, or performing any extraneous labor. When outdoors, be on the lookout for sharp objects or debris that can pose a risk.

4) Don’t Forget to Wear Your Seatbelt

Parents and doctors have been drumming it into our heads for years, and for good reason! The #1 way to prevent or reduce car accident injuries is by wearing a seatbelt. According to The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.6 million American drivers and passengers were treated in hospital emergency rooms for car accident-related injuries in 2016. Transport Canada estimates that 25% of car accidents where victims were not wearing seat belts resulted in serious injuries, while 55% were fatal. In fact, car accidents are the number one cause of TBI-related deaths in America, especially among adults aged 20-24.

How a TBI Affects Vision

A TBI can negatively impact your vision, leading to sensitivity to light, blurry or double vision, or persistent eyestrain. In many cases, certain types of activities that were easier before the TBI suddenly become difficult. These include reading a book, driving a car, or watching TV.

Studies show that about 90% of TBI patients suffer from such visual dysfunctions, making it all the more critical to take precautionary measures in staying safe.

If you or a loved one displays any of these symptoms following a TBI, contact Vision Development of WNY right away. Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna can offer a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to help regain any visual skills that were lost. Feel free to call us with any questions you may have – we’re here for you.

REFERENCES

https://www.traumaticbraininjury.com/severe-tbi-symptoms/

https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/concussion-tbi.htm

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/facts-and-figures

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/seatbelts/facts.html

https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/road/publications/canadian-motor-vehicle-traffic-collision-statistics-2016.html

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Can Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Help Stroke Patients With Vision Problems?

senior woman with middle aged woman blog imgIf a loved one recently suffered a stroke and is still struggling with the after-effects, you will want to do everything in your power to help them quickly recover. Unfortunately, it can be painstaking to find the right treatment for their specific needs.

The first thing to keep in mind is this: a single treatment is not going to cure everything. Instead, combining a set of complementary therapies promises optimal results. Read on to find out how neuro-optometric rehabilitation plays an important role in the recovery process from a stroke.

How Does a Stroke Affect Vision

A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain (or a section of it) is interrupted. In other types of strokes, a blood vessel in the brain bursts causing major damage in the area. Depending on where in the brain the stroke occurs, it affects different body functions.

Because visual information is processed through the visual cortex of the brain, any brain damage may also affect vision-related processes and quality of vision. Such visual defects are not always obvious and frequently overlooked in initial evaluations following a stroke.

Try to help the stroke victim identify any of the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision (even over short periods)
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Reduction or loss of visual field
  • Headaches when engaged in visual tasks
  • Reading difficulty
  • Difficulties with eye movements

If any of these symptoms are present, a thorough assessment by a neuro-optometrist is needed.

Why Consult a Neuro-Optometrist?

A regular eye exam by an optometrist checks for eye diseases and visual acuity. A functional eye exam by a neuro-optometrist takes a completely different approach. The goal is to identify neurological vision-related issues and address the types of vision loss caused by a stroke.

About one-third of post-stroke patients experience one or more of these conditions:

  • Loss of visual field – Part of the person’s visual field disappears. In many cases, they will see only the right or the left half of it.
  • Lack of control over eye movements – When the eye nerves are damaged, the eyes may not move as desired or move involuntarily, causing eye turn (strabismus), double vision (diplopia), or other similar issues.
  • Constant, unsteady eye movement (nystagmus) – A continuous fidgety jiggle of the eye, which can move up and down, sideways or in a circle.
  • Visual neglect – When the person is not aware of or does not respond to something he/she sees. There is nothing wrong with the eyes themselves, but the brain does not interpret the images it receives.
  • Agnosia – Often people have trouble recognizing familiar objects and even faces. The cause is similar to visual neglect.

It is easy to see how these affect the overall behavior of a person. At the same time, many may mistake their lack of orientation, bumping into things and/or ignoring people for a problem unrelated to vision.

cataracts awareness 640x350

Choosing the Right Neuro-Optometrist for a Stroke Patient

An exam by qualified professionals will provide clarity into the situation, so make sure to choose an optometry practice that includes a neuro optometrist with extensive training and experience in neuro-optometric rehabilitation such as Vision Development of WNY.

The therapy may include prism lenses to shift images into the visual field or join the images in case of double vision. Exercises to train the brain to manage vision and compensate for vision loss are also part of the therapy.

Your loved one deserves optimal healing, and to ensure this, rehabilitative vision therapy should be part of the overall treatment plan. If he or she is already undergoing physical or occupational therapy, consider adding neuro-optometric rehabilitation for a more holistic approach and better results.

How Successful Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Vision therapy will help improve the condition of your family member or friend. The speed and extent at which the patient will recover depend on the severity of the condition. Having said that, keep in mind each person is unique and reacts differently to the same treatment.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is not a cure, but it will enhance visual skills and quality of life for the person you care for.

When vision is dysfunctional, so is everything else. Getting one’s vision back on track can greatly enhance daily function and quality of life. Help your loved one get his/her life back, contact Vision Development of WNY today.

Serving patients in Elma, Western New York, and beyond.

Resources:

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/about-brain-injuries-vision/stroke-and-vision

https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke/effects-of-stroke/physical-effects-of-stroke/physical-impact/visual-disturbances

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/conditions-treated-by-neuro-optometric-rehabilitation

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/what-is-neuro-optometric-rehabilitation

https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Help-after-stroke/Stroke-resources-and-fact-sheets/Vision-loss-after-stroke-fact-sheet

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5 Things About TBIs You Never Knew

photo of head bust print artwork blog imageA Traumatic Brain Injury (or TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma, typically a sudden blow or bump to the head. This can lead to severe health problems because unlike other physical injuries, a TBI affects the brain which controls, well, pretty much everything else in the body.

Traumatic Brain Injuries occur more frequently than is generally assumed. In fact, there are a number of myths and misconceptions about TBIs, which is why we wrote up 5 things about this condition that you probably didn’t know:

1. A Concussion Does Not Automatically Lead to Unconsciousness

A mild form of TBI is known as a concussion. TV and movies frequently give the impression that people pass out when concussed, but these reactions are dramatized and not quite realistic. Most people who suffer concussions remain awake and aware of their surroundings, despite being less alert than usual. Only around 10% of concussion incidents result in a loss of consciousness.

2. In the United States, A TBI Occurs Every 9 Seconds!

An estimated 1.7 million Americans suffer from traumatic brain injury every year, and of those, about 75% of the cases are mild brain injuries or concussions. In Canada, the rates are equally alarming with 452 Canadians incurring severe brain injuries on a daily basis – excluding concussions. Not surprisingly, TBIs are often referred to as a silent epidemic.

3. Falls Are the Most Common Cause of TBI’s

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, falling is the number one cause of TBIs. The second most common cause is being hit in the head with an object or a car accident. Among children and teens, a whopping 21% of TBIs occur during sports, such as running, hiking, biking, swimming, skating.

4. Women Are at Higher Risk for TBI’s Than Men

Though experts don’t know why gender seems to play a role, women experience a higher risk of incurring a TBI than men. Studies have tried to determine the reason behind these statistics, and while it still remains unclear, the hormones in the brain are thought to contribute on some level.

5. 90% of TBI Cases Result in Some Form of Visual Impairment

According to the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, 90% of TBI patients experience visual problems associated with their concussion. The most common visual disturbances include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Headaches due to eye strain
  • Difficulty reading
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Eye movement complications

Keep in mind that vision problems may not be immediately noticeable following the trauma. It may take weeks for certain visual aberrations to manifest, which is why it’s imperative to schedule an eye exam at Vision Development of WNY as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one displays any of these symptoms following a TBI, speak with Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna regarding the neuro-optometric rehabilitation program. This rehabilitation program is a safe, practical, and effective method used to help patients regain visual skills adversely impacted by brain injury.

Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna provides treatment for TBI patients from Elma, Western New York, and beyond.

REFERENCES

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/facts-and-figures

https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/concussion-tbi.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2651745/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4901830/

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