Learn more about the visual system and vision conditions.
Acquired & Traumatic Brain Injury
For Healthcare Professionals:
Read our info sheet
What is an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) or Concussion?▼
Are there different types of acquired brain injury?
- Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)/concussion is an all-encompassing/umbrella term for damage to the brain that occurs after birth. Typically this damage is sudden, non-progressive, non-degenerative, and leads to abnormalities in neurological processing. These neurological changes can adversely affect the way a person functions in their activities of daily living, i.e., thought process, emotional behavior, speech ability, and physical changes such as impaired motor function, problems with a person’s visual system including, but not limited to:
An ABI can be from an external traumatic injury (where the brain encountered physical trauma from such incidents as a motor vehicle or bicycle accident, a fall, an assault, contact sports, or neuro-surgery, etc.) or it can be from an internal cause (a stroke, an aneurysm, a brain tumor, a viral infection or inflammation such as meningitis, a vestibular dysfunction such as Ménière’s disease, or any post-surgical complications leading to an anoxic or hypoxic event in the brain).
- Eye tracking problems
- Eye teaming problems
- Eye focusing problems
- Visual field problems
- Visual information processing problems
Who should evaluate my visual problem?▼
An optometrist who has specific interest in diagnosing and managing
problems with binocular vision and provides vision rehabilitation in the form
of special glasses (that include a specific prescription, prisms, tints, and/or
coatings) or in the form of in-office or out-of-office visual
rehabilitation. When scheduling an eye
examination, ask if the optometrist provides evaluation services for binocular vision
problems and neuro-optometric rehabilitation.
What Treatments are Available?▼
- Lens---a specifically prescribed optical device that focuses light onto the retina to obtain a clear image; at times, lenses are used at near to help the eye focus more easily and efficiently with increased comfort.
- Prism---a specialized optical device that deviates/'bends' light; prisms are frequently prescribed as a component of the treatment for binocular vision problems and to eliminate double vision, as well as to provide comfort for near visual tasks such as reading.
- Tint/coating---an optical component that alters the amount of light to the eyes; at times, it may also alter the color of the object; they are used to help those with light sensitivity/glare problems.
- Selective occlusion---the use of specially graded filters to help patients who are experiencing double vision or visual confusion.
- Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation (NOR)----a series/sequence of scientifically-proven, brain-based, sensory-motor-perceptual procedures and techniques that remediate visual dysfunctions/deficits, which improves one's visual efficiency and visual comfort. Also see below.
What is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation (NOR)?▼
Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation (NOR) represents a specialized area of optometry, which addresses the oculomotor, accommodative, visuomotor, binocular, vestibular, perceptual/visual information processing, and specific ocular/neurological sequelae of the acquired brain injury population. This includes the diagnoses of concussion, traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular accident/stroke, post-surgical brain complications, encephalopathy, vestibular dysfunction, and neurological conditions adversely affecting the visual system. NOR includes standard optometric modalities, such as corrective lenses, prisms, tints and coatings, selective occlusion, and optometric vision therapy. Optometric vision therapy incorporates both in-office and out-of-office procedures for the remediation and management of the associated visual problems listed above with the goal to improve activities of daily visual living and performance. Optometric vision therapy is based on sound principles of neuroscience involving visual motor and perceptual learning reflective of the underlying visual/neural system plasticity. It frequently is provided in conjunction with other rehabilitation and health care professionals.
What other rehabilitation specialists may be involved in my care? ▼
When a person has an acquired brain injury, often one type of rehabilitation is not enough to address all his or her needs, since so many of their brain processing systems have been affected (i.e. vision, hearing, speech, motor control, etc.). Oftentimes there needs to be a rehabilitation team to address their needs. The members of this team include, but are not limited to the following providers:
- Optometrist who specializes in Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
- Physical Therapist
- Occupational Therapist
- Cognitive Therapist
- Vestibular Therapist
- Speech/Language Therapist
When can I get started?▼
It’s never too late to seek rehabilitation after a brain injury. Typically, early intervention is more beneficial. If you or someone you know is having visual problems from an acquired brain injury, we are here to help.
Locate a Doctor in your area who is experienced and knowledgeable in diagnosing and treating brain injury-related vision problems.
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