Concussion-Related Vision Disorders

Up to 3.6 million concussions occur annually, as estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 65% of these injuries occur in the pediatric and adolescent population, 5 to 18 years of age, with the 11- to 14- and 15- to 18-year-old age groups representing the largest proportion of those injured. There are increasing concerns that children may be particularly vulnerable to the consequences of concussion and may have more prolonged and complicated outcomes from a cognitive and developmental perspective.

Common problems in concussion that are observed in both the adult and pediatric populations include physical signs and symptoms (headache, dizziness, nausea, balance problems, fatigue, light and noise sensitivity, sleep problems), cognitive deficits (memory, attention, executive functioning, reaction time), and emotional issues (irritability, sadness, nervousness, anxiety and depression). In particular, concussion-related visual complaints, including blurred or double vision, eye fatigue, the appearance of words moving on the page loss of place when reading, and difficulty sustaining attention on a visual task have been reported in the adult population.

A high prevalence of binocular vision (convergence), accommodative (focusing) and saccadic (eye movement) disorders have been reported in children and adults with concussion in both the civilian and military populations with a prevalence of up to 30% to 42%.

In a recent study Dr. Scheiman and colleagues from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, examined 100 adolescents who had concussion. Overall, 69% had one vision problems with the most common problems being convergence insufficiency (49%), and focusing problems (51%).

This information demonstrates that a comprehensive visual examination is necessary after concussion.

Vision Therapy has been shown to be very effective for the treatment of concussion-related vision problems.