Football player being tackled and at risk of concussion.

Getting a concussion can dramatically affect your day. From headaches to coordination issues on and off the gridiron, this condition can have an immediate impact on your health. However, how can a concussion lead to long-term problems, particularly with your eyes?

What happens to your brain during a concussion?

Caused by blows and hits to the head, a concussion is a traumatic brain injury where the brain moves rapidly against the skull’s interior. This rapid movement can alter or even damage brain cells, affecting their communication. People who are the most prone to this event are individuals with highly physical jobs and athletes in close contact sports such as wrestling and football.

What happens to your vision immediately after a concussion?

Right after a concussion, you may experience varying degrees of vision issues. The most common of these are blurred vision and light sensitivity. These are commonly checked during a concussion test with a physician or athletic trainer along with other symptoms such as memory or coordination loss.

Dr. Brian White, a CEENTA neuro-ophthalmologist from our SouthPark office, provides insight into vision problems stemming from concussions. "Visual dysfunction following concussion is relatively common and the resulting symptoms can be incredibly frustrating for patients. The issue tends to be a problem with communication between the brain and the eyes, primarily affecting the ability to move both eyes in a coordinated fashion. The findings are often subtle, but a careful neuro-ophthalmic exam can provide valuable information to determine the best treatment plan for each patient's symptoms."

What are the long-term vision effects of a concussion?

Patients who have post-concussion syndrome can have additional eye and vision problems that may last for weeks. These include eye pain, reduced depth perception, poor eye tracking, and overactive or underactive peripheral vision. While these symptoms can resolve over time, they can continue if the main cause was ineffective signaling in the brain brought on by the concussion.

How can I treat my vision after a concussion?

There are a number of visual exercises your eye doctor may recommend after you have a concussion to treat your vision. Near/far exercises can help your eyes transition between object close and further away, while tracking and fixation exercises can aid in pinpointing specific objects in your sight. However, those who are suffering from persistent visual problems following a concussion should refer to a neuro-ophthalmologist for more information and additional treatment options.

Concussions are debilitating for patients and athletes, no matter how mild or severe. If you or someone you know has persistent vision problems from a concussion, schedule an appointment with Dr. White at our SouthPark office today to see what treatment options are available. 

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our eye doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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