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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

6-3-13 079

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffer a traumatic brain injury. These injuries, which most often result from falls, motor vehicle accidents and sports-related impacts, can lead to a variety of long-lasting difficulties, including:

  • Confusion
  • Memory and attention difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Behavioral Problems

While rehabilitation is an important part of the recovery process for many of these patients, treatment frequently overlooks another very common side effect of traumatic brain injuries: visual disturbances.

From reading difficulties to dizziness to mental confusion, the visual consequences of traumatic brain injury can be just as debilitating as the physical challenges – creating persistent disabilities that affect all aspects of a person’s life. These visual disturbances stem from the fact that 75 percent of the brain receives and processes visual information.

The Missing Piece in Many Treatment Plans

Although traditional rehabilitation is extremely beneficial in helping patients restore many of their physical abilities, it will not help them overcome visual problems such as double vision, poor depth perception or light sensitivity. To help remediate these visual issues, it is essential to consult with a neuro/developmental optometrist and have them be part of your rehabilitation team.

Depending on a person’s symptoms, visual rehabilitation may include lenses with prisms, along with a personalized vision therapy program. Please note, that this program is not a replacement for traditional physical therapy, but should be completed in conjunction with the physical rehabilitation process to maximize results.

If you or someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury, it is important to have a comprehensive vision exam by an experienced neuro/developmental optometrist, such as Dr. Theresa Ruggiero, Dr. Elizabeth Hannigan or Dr. Jessica Haake at Northampton Vision Specialists. To learn more about our visual rehabilitation program, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

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