A concussion, also known as a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), happens when you get hit in the head hard enough that it bruises the brain. While not typically life-threatening, a blow to the head can leave you with headaches, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting (in more severe cases), and vision problems.
Causes of Concussions
The Centers for Disease Control says that the majority of concussions — around 47 percent — happen after a fall (off a bike, missteps, etc.). Being struck by an object (baseballs, football tackle, etc.) account for around 15 percent of mTBIs. While 14 percent happen as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
Symptoms of a Concussion
Common symptoms of a concussion are headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and at least initially, blurred vision and light sensitivity. Unlike the other symptoms, which can happen shortly after the blow, vision problems, as noted by All About Vision, can actually show up later and may not present themselves right away. So, you need to be on the lookout for them throughout the healing process.
For further reading, the Brain Injury Association of America has provided information on this condition.
Please note: It is a medical emergency and a strong indicator of severe trauma if one pupil (dark dot in the center of the eye) appears larger than the other. You must go to the Emergency Room straight away to be seen by a medical professional.
Vision Problems to Watch For
According to BrainInjuries.org and the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, concussions can trigger many vision issues. They are:
- Blurred or fuzzy vision
- Light sensitivity
- Reading difficulties
- Comprehension problems
- Double vision
- Aching eyes
- Headaches when tending to visual tasks
- Visual-field loss
- Eye movement issues such as tracking, shifting focus, and binocular focusing
If left untreated, the concussed patient may begin to have trouble making sense of visual information, so it is important to remain vigilant for at least a month after getting an mTBI to watch for these other symptoms.
The single best thing you can do after receiving a concussion is to rest and avoid environments where you may re-injure yourself while you are healing. The brain takes a few weeks to recover. If it is determined that your vision has been affected, there are various optometric vision therapies and vision rehabilitation therapies that can help. Talk with your eye-care professional for recommendations on which therapy would work best for you.