Vision Problems after Brain Injury

Injuries to the brain, especially at the back of the head, can cause vision impairment that may be temporary or permanent.

man with closed eyes

These problems are especially common in auto vehicle accidents when the crash forces the head to whip back into the headrest.

The inertia of the movement causes the brain to crash violently into the back of the skull, damaging the visual center at the rear of the brain.

Car accident victims are not the only people affected by vision impairment after traumatic brain injury. Increasing numbers of pre-term births bring about greater chances of damage from brain hemorrhage. Soldiers returning from war are vulnerable to these conditions whenever they sustain concussions from direct impacts or nearby explosions. Because many parts of the brain process vision, many areas of injury can cause visual impairment.

Brain Injury Can Impair Eyesight

When vision problems stem from problems with the brain and nervous system rather than the eye itself, doctors call the condition cortical visual impairment (CVI). Because different areas of the brain control different aspects of vision, CVI can apply to a wide range of vision impairments. Some professionals prefer the tern neurological visual impairment.


Sight is Complex

In reality, the eyes are only a small part of the system that allows people to see and process visual information. Various centers throughout the brain aid in vision. Disruptions to any one of these visual centers can create visual impairment.

Diagnosis CVI

Visual impairment from traumatic brain injury can be hard for ophthalmologists to identify or understand. They are trained to look for problems with focus and acuity (sharpness of vision). However, many aspects of vision can suffer from brain injury.

Different parts of the brain are responsible for different functions. One section is responsible for recognizing faces, another for recognizing objects. Colors, contrast and movement also rely on certain parts of the brain. Hand-to-eye coordination is yet another center of the brain that processes visual information.

Complex Symptoms Make Diagnosis Difficult

When brain injury affects only a small visual area, the patient can suffer visual disorders that are difficult for the patient to explain, much less for the doctor to document and diagnose. Some characteristics that may lead to a CVI diagnosis include:

  • Changes to peripheral vision
  • Visual field defect (loss of vision in parts of the visual field)
  • Delayed response to visual stimuli
  • Visual agnosia (inability to recognize common objects)
  • Poor visual reflexes, such as failing to blink at a threatened motion
  • Impaired ability to move eyes and hands together to accomplish one task
  • Sensitivity to certain colors or light

Patients with CVI may benefit from a low vision specialist who can help them retrain their brains to process visual stimulation correctly. These professionals can design special treatments and programs to address the specialized nature of the visual impairment. With their aid, patients may return to normal vision more quickly than they otherwise would.

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If you or someone you love suffers from cortical or neurological vision loss, contact our office for a free legal evaluation. Our experienced attorneys will explain your rights to help you decide if you should file a brain injury lawsuit.

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