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What Is Vision Therapy for Concussions?

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Concussions are more common than you may think, and they can have a significant effect on your life. They can cause headaches, blurry vision, light sensitivity, and more. Fortunately, vision therapy is able to help you recover faster from a concussion. How does it work?

Vision therapy is a non-surgical and painless approach to treating and correcting vision problems. Think of it as physical therapy that helps your eyes and brain work better together.

What Is Vision Therapy?

When you damage an arm or a leg in an accident, you’ll likely have to do some physical therapy to help it heal and regain its mobility. This usually involves exercises, stretches, and utilizing the damaged limb to work correctly. You retrain your body to use the limb efficiently and smoothly.

Vision therapy is the same thing, but it’s designed for your eyes and brain. The human visual system is incredibly complex and sometimes gets a little out of sorts. Maybe your eyes can’t work together properly, or you have difficulty following moving objects with your eyes.

Vision therapy is designed to help improve these essential visual skills. It employs a series of customized activities performed under the supervision of a trained eye care professional. Vision therapy re-trains your eyes and brain to communicate and work together more effectively to strengthen your overall visual system.

Does Vision Therapy Help with Concussions?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury often caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head—any injury that causes the head and the brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce or twist in the skull, damaging brain cells.

Concussions often lead to temporary problems with brain function as the brain heals, causing symptoms like:

  • Headaches
  • Issues with hand-eye coordination
  • Troubles with depth perception
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Difficulty following moving objects

These symptoms are due to problems with how the brain interprets visual information from the eyes. Fortunately, vision therapy helps alleviate symptoms caused by your injury. 

Therapy for concussions varies based on your specific symptoms and injury. Typically, these programs use a combination of techniques to correct visual skill problems. We aim to alleviate headaches and fatigue and improve balance, visual memory, hand-eye coordination, cognition, and information processing.

The Role of Neuroplasticity

Our brain has the exceptional ability to rewire and create new neural pathways. This is known as neuroplasticity, and it’s crucial for our recovery after brain injuries like concussions. Vision therapy takes advantage of neuroplasticity by providing consistent and repetitive visual exercises that aim to stimulate the visual system, promoting the growth and strengthening of new neural pathways. Because of neuroplasticity, vision therapy can help in the recovery of cognitive processes affected by concussions.

A young girl doing vision therapy at Aurora Eye Care.

How Does Vision Therapy Work?

Vision therapy starts with a visit to our clinic. There, you’ll receive a comprehensive assessment of your visual capabilities from one of our specially trained optometrists so that we can better understand your needs.

Once we’ve assessed your situation, we’ll custom-tailor a plan to address your issues. As you work through the program, your eyes and brain will start to correct itself. Just like physical therapy helps you strengthen a limb, vision therapy helps you to strengthen your visual system.

Vision therapy can help improve:

  • Eye tracking
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Depth perception
  • Ability to focus on objects at different distances
  • Visual processing

It helps your eyes work together correctly to reduce blurry or double vision.

What Conditions Can Vision Therapy Treat?

While vision therapy is excellent for helping you recover from a concussion, it isn’t limited to that. It can also help you if you have:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Double vision
  • Reading or learning disabilities
  • Binocular vision (how well your eyes work together)

The Importance of Early Diagnosis & Treatment

Untreated concussions can lead to long-term complications and disorders, including post-concussion syndrome, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and visual-processing disorders. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are crucial for a speedy and efficient recovery. 

Vision therapy can be a part of a multidisciplinary treatment plan that includes medical and emotional support to help your recovery.

Should I Try Vision Therapy?

If you or your child have recently sustained a concussion or have any other type of vision problems, visit us at Aurora Eye Care. Our team is dedicated to helping improve your vision and recover swiftly. Don’t let a concussion or any other visual problems hold you back—book an appointment with us today and give vision therapy a try.

Written by Dr. Kyla Hunter

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