Though they are one of the most common symptoms reported after a concussion, the vision problems associated with traumatic brain injury are still not well understood. We are just now getting a sense of how common these vision issues really are, and a new study in the February issue of Optometry and Vision Science says that the issues persist in over half of brain injury patients.
The study, titled “Abnormal Fixation in Individuals with AMD when Viewing an Image of a Face”, was conducted by Gregory L. Goodrich, PhD, and his colleagues, analyzed the rates and kinds of vision problems in 50 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans with blast-related TBI, and then compared that data with 50 non-blast related TBI patients who were mostly civilians.
According to Science Daily, blast-related TBI is considered unique from standard traumatic brain injury, because it is caused by a blast of pressure rather than the knocking back and forth of the head that occurs normally. Though blast-related TBI patients normally have their head physically shaken in the blast as well.
Both groups of patients showed high rates of vision problems, with over sixty-five percent of the patients reporting some kind of vision problems, most commonly problems related to eye movement and light sensitivity. Non-blast related TBI caused more eye movement related issues, with 85 percent of patients reporting problems opposed to 58 percent of blast-related TBI patients. Light sensitivity was more common in the military personnel rather than civilians with non-blast related injuries.
Despite the extremely high rates of TBI related vision problems, most patients retained their visual acuity, or clearness of vision. The rates and kinds of vision related issues were also common between mild and severe TBI cases. What it boils down to is any brain injury patient should most likely endure a comprehensive eye examination.