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It has been estimated that the American population suffers four to five million concussions every year. A concussion is usually the result of a traumatic cerebral injury that alters the way your brain functions, and is often caused by blunt-force trauma or a blow to the head. Concussions are a common injury in contact sports such as hockey, (American) football, and rugby, but can also develop after experiencing an automobile accident, or simply a bad fall. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of concussions are not accompanied by a loss of consciousness.

Over 70 percent of the brain’s neural tissue is related either directly or indirectly to vision, therefore concussions will frequently result in changes to one’s vision. Convergence insufficiency is just one of the frequent side-effects of concussions and head injuries, and can be described as the inability or impaired ability to focus clearly on closer objects. Individuals who suffer from convergence insufficiency can have one or more of the following reflexes impeded; convergence (the ability to cross the eyes), lens focusing, and dilation of the pupils to increase depth of focus (miosis). The areas of the brain that support these activities can easily be damaged after even a mild concussion, and any of these functions may be disabled. Reduced visual capabilities can diminish your capacity to read, drive, work, or interact with others.

Aside from convergence insufficiency, there is a multitude of visual complications that can arise after suffering a concussion. Some of these problems can include:

  • Photophobia (light sensitivity) can occur after a concussion or other form of brain injury.
  • Accommodative insufficiency specifies a diminished level of focus stamina necessary for accurate near vision.
  • Impaired visual processing and reaction speed can result from a concussion depending on the severity of the injury. Affected individuals may take longer to identify objects or locations within the field of vision.
  • Ocular motor dysfunction is a condition in which the eyes do not accurately track or move how the individual intends. In extreme cases, ocular motor dysfunction can impact hand-eye coordination and athletic talents.
  • Double Vision can be the result of a number of causes — including concussions — and it is recommended that any individual experiencing double vision schedule an appointment with an optometrist who has experience in neuro-optometry, binocular vision, and vision therapy.
  • Blurred vision can occur after a concussion, and can affect one’s ability to see near or far, or both.

Are you experiencing impaired vision after suffering a cranial injury? Contact Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816) 358-3600 or request your appointment online. We can serve you at our convenient location in Independence/Kansas City.

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  1. Cari Nygard says:

    I was in a car accident in August, 2016 and received a concussion. Since then, my macular degeneration has progressed dramatically.
    My eye doctor here says there is no connection, yet before my accident my macular has not expressed itself. Now my left eye is 20/70. My right eye is holding at 20/25. I live in Brainerd, MN.
    We are debating flying to see the clinic, if there would be any help for me. We are also in litigation
    concerning this.
    Thank you for any help you can provide.

    • Hi Cari,

      So sorry to hear about your accident! If you wouldn’t mind, please call our office to discuss what options might be best for you. The doctor would likely want to review your medical history before you decide whether or not to fly out. Our office number is (816) 358-3600. Thanks so much!

  2. Anna D Byer says:

    A car hit me and I suffered a second concussion in a 3 year period. I am 77 yrs old and was in good health before these 2 concussions. I had no signs of macular degeneration before the 1st concussion. A few weeks after the accident, I began to experience headaches and vision problems. I asked the Dr. how this could happen so quickly and could the concussion contribute to it? He said no. I have been getting injections in both eyes for almost 2 yrs., 4-6 weeks apart. From what I have read 70% of the brain’s neural tissue is related to vision, therefore concussions will frequently result in changes to one’s vision. I also was seeing double for 3 months, until someone told me to wear a patch over one eye. A week or two later I was seeing much better. So my question to you sir is, “Can a concussion contribute to my vision change so quickly, as to bring on macular degeneration?”

  3. Danae Michael says:

    In 2013, I had macular generation in my left eye which developed into a 20/400 visual acuity. Thank goodness it was treated by laser by a very skillful retinologist. In June 2018, I had an accident, with my left supraorbital bone hit resulting in my losing consciousness. It was a powerful concussion which affected my speech and comprehension abilities. In about one year, I developed a wet macular degeneration which has continued to be difficult to control. I feel the concussion contributed to the wet degeneration.
    I am not diabetic nor does the family have any history of wet macular degeneration. The family has only a history of the dry macular degeneration. What do you think??

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