When you think about a concussion, the first thing you probably think of is the effect it can have on the brain. What many people don't think about, or aren't aware of, is how that concussion can affect vision, too. Remember that your eyes and your visual processing are all connected to your brain, so when your brain is damaged, your eyes can suffer damage as well. Here are a few things that you should know.
General Vision Problems
You see it in movies all the time; someone suffers a concussion and the first thing the doctors do is hold up a couple of fingers to check their general visual field. Part of testing that visual field includes tracking the eye's movement as it follows a moving object. Since your field of vision can be restricted by trauma to your brain, this is an important consideration.
Loss Of Definition
Another thing to watch for if you suffer a concussion is the loss of definition in your vision. If lines and edges that used to be sharp are now softer or less defined, that's an indication that your vision has suffered some damage and needs to be attended to.
Sensitivity To Light
When your eyes are subjected to any kind of major trauma, it can leave them highly sensitive to the reflection of light. This can mean that anything from sunlight to your computer screen can actually be painful to look at. The only way for this to truly heal is for you to avoid as much light as possible during recovery, including checking email.
Slower Visual Processing
Your brain's ability to process what you see and react to will slow down in the aftermath of a concussion. Your brain will have to work much harder to communicate that visual input, which can leave you in a situation where you can't react as quickly as you need to, such as to avoid a car coming in your path or an obstacle standing in your way.
Loss Of Visual Focus
A concussion can reduce your visual focus, particularly with your near vision. The part of the brainstem that regulates how your eye lens focuses can suffer damage in the concussion, and that directly affects your ability to focus on things around you. Unfortunately, this type of damage isn't usually spotted on an MRI, so it's something you need to be attentive to yourself.
If you've had a concussion and you are concerned about your vision, visit a local eye doctor, such as Dr. Charles A. Richards, O.D.