Do you see with your eyes? Or do you see with your brain?
The words on this page would be meaningless without interpretation by the brain. Likewise, beautiful images would be lost in translation without input from photoreceptive rods and cones in the retina. Vision, as we commonly refer to it, is a collaborative process engaging both eye and brain to fully enjoy a breathtaking sunset, or comprehend the writings of Shakespeare.
When the brain suffers injury, either from trauma or stroke, the damage done to vision often takes three forms: visual field loss, diplopia (double vision), and/or visual balance disorders.
Visual field loss often reduces a patient to central vision, making images and objects in the peripheral field invisible. Such limitations can prove dangerous for patients, as they navigate without the benefit of seeing moving vehicles, obstructions, or pitfalls outside of their present range.
Diplopia often causes a patient to begin ignoring messages from the weaker eye in order to eliminate dizzying double images. Diplopia makes reading and close, intricate tasks, such as threading a needle or signing a document, both uncomfortable and frustrating.
Visual balance disorders, such as Midline Shift Disorder and/or visual neglect/imperceptions, can be especially troubling to brain injury patients. Midline Shift Disorder moves the perception of an individual’s center line causing them to potentially lose their balance or misjudge their relation to an object. Visual imperception disrupts the patient’s perception of where they are in space, putting them at risk of anything harmful in the neglected visual area.
Vision therapy can improve many of the vision disorders associated with brain injuries. Developmental optometrists and developmental ophthalmologists can help patients by prescribing individualized vision therapy programs that improve a patient’s ability to determine their “place in space.” Behavioral and developmental optometrists understand how the eye and brain work together, and know how to test for specific vision disorders.
While every patient is different, experienced developmental optometrists have a library of therapeutic exercises and tools that can offer brain injured patients improved lifestyles through improved vision and perception skills. The doctors at Virginia Vision Therapy Center have been helping patients in a clinical setting for more than 25 years, developing exercises and lens combinations to help brain injured patients see the world in the best possible light. Scheduling an appointment to review vision disorders with Virginia Vision Therapy Center may offer solutions that less specialized exams overlook.