Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation is a sub-specialty of Optometry that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of visual disorders that occur as a result of a concussion or multiple concussions, brain injuries, developmental delays or other neurological disorders.

Many people don’t realize that our eyes are part of the brain. When someone suffers any type of injury to the brain, whether it is a stroke, car accident or developmental delay, their vision will be adversely affected. For example, common vision symptoms after concussion include trouble concentrating when trying to read, double vision, difficulty shifting from looking at things up close (such as reading distance), and then shifting to look at things in the distance and vice versa.

There are other symptoms which most people don’t associate with vision (but can definitely be caused by vision disorders) some of which include: difficulty being in crowded places such as stores and malls, problems with balance and movement, clumsiness, short attention span, as well as light sensitivity.

The Neuro-Optometric Evaluation is unique because, in addition to a traditional eye exam, basic binocular visual skills, and eye health, the evaluation is focused on identifying how vision is impacting overall function. It also is designed to evaluate how vision is interacting with the other senses.

Vision problems that occur after a brain injury can range from being very subtle to dramatic. The more subtle vision disorders can often be the most irritating because they require very specialized testing to detect, and the patient often feels as though no one believes them.

Double vision is a common occurrence after stroke or head injury, and can often be more severe for those who have suffered multiple concussions. It is vital to the rehabilitation process that double vision is treated as soon as possible; otherwise the overall rehabilitation will be significantly delayed.

Double vision can cause problems with:

  • Handwriting
  • Anxiety with visual tasks
  • Difficulty judging distances; such as pouring liquids, walking into things, etc.
  • Balance and movement difficulties like drifting when walking, stumbling or falling
  • Driving difficulties with lane positioning, proper speed maintenance, multitasking, navigation

Additional symptoms caused by head injuries, etc., can include:

  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Feeling disoriented
  • Consistently stays to one side of hallway or room
  • Bumps into objects when walking
  • Poor walking or posture leans back on heels, forward, or to one side when walking, standing or seated in a chair
  • Perception of the floor being tilted
  • Associated neuromotor difficulties with balance, coordination and posture

Unless vision problems associated with head injuries are treated, they can be disabling and increase dependency as well as risk of secondary injury.

Treatment can involve special therapeutic lenses (worn similar to glasses) or may involve a more in-depth program. Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitative Therapy is a non-invasive process for the rehabilitation of visual, perceptual, and motor disorders. Individualized programs working one on one with a vision therapist, one can learn how to regain control of your vision.