Visual Impairment Up To One Year After Brain Injury

Man with Hands Covering Eyes

A recent review of 18 studies of visual impairments after brain injury outlined some of the more common vision problems that occur and should be screened for. These include:

• Blurred vision
• Reading problems
• Double vision or eyestrain
• Visual field defects, such as ignoring one side of an object
• Light sensitivity
• Color blindness

These problems can manifest in symptoms that are not always obvious. For instance, visual problems can cause dizziness and loss of balance, resulting in gait impairment and falls. People with vision problems may compensate by moving more slowly and carefully. Reading can become difficult, resulting in slowed reading, misreading, or a lack of memory for what was just read. Vision problems can cause or exacerbate headaches. And, people with vision problems tend to also have problems with concentration and memory.

It's important to educate patients and their family members about the potential for visual problems after traumatic brain injury, so that there can be early screening and treatment.

Greenwald BD, Kapoor N, & Singh AD. Visual impairments in the first year after traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury. (September 2012).