Part 4 of my concussion series. Another major component of concussion rehab is assessing and treating the visual processing systems. While it isn’t in my scope to assess visual acuity/eyesight (eye doctors), I have taken courses that taught me to assess HOW our brain is PERCEIVING what our eyes see. Did you know it takes half of the brain tissue to process visual signals?
For example, after a concussion patients often report dizziness, fatigue, and trouble with screen time, driving, and/or balance. These symptoms can be caused by miscommunication between the eyes and the brain.
My job is to assess how the muscles and nerves are using the visual stimuli. After determining where the patient is struggling, they are given adaptation home exercises, which restore more normal visual processing and help manage their symptoms.
For the 🤓🤓🤓s, we are working with the cranial nerves (CN) that control visual processing (half of the CN work on vision), but also the ones that control eye and neck muscle coordination.
I find sometimes that patients’ more severe symptoms clear up somewhat quickly, however the more subtle ones tend to persist. There can be a gap in care, where patients assume it’s their “new normal” and nothing else can be done, which is far from the truth! Having a physiotherapist conduct a visual assessment can help determine what care is needed, both from themselves and other professionals they can refer you to. If you know someone that struggles with any of the symptoms I’ve written about these last weeks, have them reach out!
-Victoria Mokriy, PT