Treatment & Recovery
This is a manageable and treatable injury but it takes active therapy to recover and we MUST move beyond the rest and recovery approach to treating concussions! Strict rest has been demonstrated to prolong the recovery process and lead to more symptoms than active rehab. The recovery process must offset the neurovascular damage and redirect neuronal repair via active rehabilitation and training. Post-concussion vision disturbances affect all of our daily activities including work school, sports and social life. Most vision disturbances after concussion can be treated and you should seek treatment as soon as you or others notice a problem. Without treatment, visual problems may limit your success in recovering from a concussion. Unfortunately, the current, outdated, treatment regimen includes sitting in a dark room, resting, and being brain activity free. The most current research suggests this is not the most effective treatment and will likely worsen and delay the recovery process.
Often times when no improvement is noted after a couple of weeks of rest, the neurologist or PCP may recommend occupation therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist, or psychologist to assist in the recovery process. While each serves an important role in the recovery process it is the visual system that is overlooked.
At InFocus Eyecare, it is the Optometrist who coordinates the care, begins vision rehabilitation and will then refer to other therapists for additional services. In addition to Scott Krauchunas, OD, PhD who specializes in concussion vision rehabilitation, we also have an Occupational Therapist who has an expertise in sports related injuries and recovery including concussion rehabilitation. We also have an Athletic Trainer on staff who is experienced in the vision rehabilitation protocols. Because each concussion is different for each athlete, we treat the athlete uniquely and do not follow a standardized treatment protocol. Rehabilitation should begin immediately after a suspected concussion, NOT resting in a dark room waiting for the headaches to subside. The rehab involves a whole body treatment including dietary recommendations, maintaining consistent a sleep cycle, light exercise such as walking/riding a stationary bike, coordinated care with teachers/school and work, vision and balance therapy.
The most common changes after concussion are difficulty teaming our eyes together for near work such as reading or computer use and loss of the ability to make print clear. Known as convergence insufficiency and accommodative dysfunction.
Treatment may include eyeglasses for near work such as reading or computer use, vision rehabilitation therapy to rebuild your visual skill, or specially tinted lenses to reduce light sensitivity. The active therapy includes a great deal of saccadic eye movement, eye teaming, visual processing, visual memory, eye hand/foot drills utilizing state of the art active computer integration touch boards. It is important to provide quantifiable data to support the subjective improvement. We also integrate vestibular-ocular motor training into the rehab process which treats any balance, coordination, and motion sickness issues that the athlete may be experiencing. Treatment is designed to relieve your symptoms and to help the athlete return to his/her daily activities and to limit the effects of a second concussion. The recovery is a process, not a standardized protocol.