“The eyes are the window to the soul.” They are also an excellent avenue for evaluating and treating concussion. There are measurable changes in ocular coordination that experienced concussion experts will look for when evaluating your concussion. There are muscles that move your eyes in controlled and coordinated ways. The brain pathways that control these movements are often impaired immediately after a concussion. During recovery from a sports related brain injury ocular coordination impairments can lead to symptoms of headache, dizziness, difficulty reading, and possibly blurred vision.
Our eyes have muscles that control their coordinated movements. After a sports related brain injury (concussion) our team will assess deficits and tailor a rehabilitation program to restore normal ocular function. Research regarding the effectiveness of these exercises is mixed, but at minimum, regular practice can be a good indicator of progress as the injury resolves and performance improves.
Just like the other muscles throughout the body, training can improve function and endurance. Treatment of concussion-related vision disorders often involve the use of ocular rehabilitation to remediate vergence, accommodation, and gaze stability. The following is an example of a home exercise program for improving the function of your eyes.
Like all injuries, I often tell athletes that there is an opportunity to improve something they had not previously known could impact performance. Training the eyes is a good example of that concept. We have all heard someone say that an athlete has “good vision” when referring to the ability in a specific sport. Whether you are an athlete recovering from a traumatic brain injury, or even if you want to focus on improving performance, there are benefits from Vision-Therapy that translate well to recovery, academic, and athletic performance. This scientific research is rapidly expanding and new tools are available everyday.
The basic exercises above can be a bit mundane, and so the below references can be used as part of the rehabilitation process for your eyes. Click on the link to navigate to each page.
This Visual Rehab Soccer Game can be used to titrate eye exercises.
Pacman to Templerun are examples of basic video games that can exacerbate (make worse) symptoms immediately following concussion due to the ocular coordination required to effectively focus on the screen and anticipate movements. After initial symptoms resolve, these games can be utilized to assess tolerance to ocular stress and may help restore normal focus and ocular coordination.
Wordsearch similarly challenges ocular function and can be used to assess symptoms related to ocular strain, or as a means to help rehabilitate ocular function.
The website, eyecanlearn.com, is loaded with information for parents and teachers. There are an array of tasks that can be of benefit for younger children.
Also, our partner, Linus Sun, MD, a neuro-ophthalmologist, is often of great help to us in the evaluation and management of complex ocular concerns.