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Concussion management

After experiencing a concussion, it is essential to seek medical evaluation and care to ensure your safety, monitor for potential complications, and manage symptoms effectively. Here are the healthcare professionals you should consider consulting following a concussion:

  • Primary Care Physician: Your primary care physician can assess your overall health, conduct a physical examination, and evaluate your symptoms. They can provide guidance on managing symptoms and monitor your recovery progress. They may refer you to specialists for further evaluation if necessary.

  • Neurologist: If your concussion is severe or you experience persistent or severe symptoms, a neurologist, who specializes in disorders of the nervous system, including the brain, can provide expert evaluation and guidance.

  • Sports Medicine Specialist: If you sustained the concussion during sports or physical activity, a sports medicine specialist can assess the injury, guide your return-to-play decisions, and offer recommendations for prevention.

  • Neuropsychologist: A neuropsychologist specializes in assessing cognitive and emotional functioning. They can perform cognitive testing to assess any changes in memory, attention, and other cognitive functions following a concussion.

  • Developmental Optometrist: Vision problems are common after concussions. An eye specialist can evaluate any vision-related issues, such as double vision, blurred vision, or difficulty focusing, and recommend appropriate treatments, including vision therapy.

  • ENT Specialist: If you experience ear-related symptoms like hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or balance issues, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist can evaluate and manage these symptoms.

  • Physical Therapist: Physical therapists can help address balance and coordination issues that may result from a concussion. They can develop exercises and therapies to improve these functions.

  • Speech Therapist: If you experience speech or communication difficulties, a speech therapist can provide therapy to improve speech, language, and cognitive communication skills.

  • Psychologist or Psychiatrist: Emotional and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or mood changes, can occur after a concussion. Mental health professionals can provide counseling and support as needed.

  • Rehabilitation Specialist: If you have persistent symptoms that affect your ability to perform daily activities, a rehabilitation specialist can develop a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to aid in your recovery.

It's crucial to communicate openly with your healthcare providers about your symptoms, medical history, and any changes in your condition. We all will work together to create a personalized treatment plan and guide you through the recovery process.

 

If you experience any worsening symptoms, such as severe headache, seizures, loss of consciousness, or neurological deficits, seek immediate medical attention or go to the nearest emergency room for evaluation and care.

What are the visual symptoms following a concussion?

  • Blurred Vision: Concussions can disrupt the brain's ability to process visual information correctly, leading to blurred or hazy vision.

  • Double Vision (Diplopia): Damage to the eye muscles or the brain's control of eye movements can result in double vision, where a person sees two images of a single object.

  • Difficulty Focusing (Accommodation Problems): Some individuals may have difficulty adjusting their focus between near and distant objects, making reading and other visual tasks challenging.

  • Sensitivity to Light (Photophobia): Many people with concussions become more sensitive to light, known as photophobia. Bright lights can cause discomfort and headaches.

  • Eye Tracking Problems: Concussions can affect the brain's ability to smoothly and accurately track moving objects, leading to difficulties with activities like reading and following a fast-moving ball in sports.

  • Visual Field Deficits: In some cases, concussions can result in partial or complete loss of vision in specific areas of the visual field, which can impact activities like driving or sports.

  • Reading Difficulties: Individuals with concussions may experience challenges with reading comprehension, speed, or fluency due to visual processing issues.

  • Balance and Spatial Awareness: Vision plays a crucial role in balance and spatial orientation. A concussion can disrupt these functions, leading to dizziness, disorientation, and an increased risk of falls.

  • Headaches and Eye Strain: Vision problems related to concussions can cause frequent headaches and eye strain, further reducing a person's overall comfort and quality of life.

  • Visual Memory and Cognitive Processing: Some concussions can affect visual memory and the ability to process complex visual information, impacting tasks that require memory and problem-solving skills.

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imporatance of eye exam following
head trauma

An eye exam conducted by a trained developmental optometrist can uncover these subtle yet significant visual deficits. Early detection and appropriate management of vision problems are essential for optimizing recovery and preventing long-term issues. Whether it's prescribing corrective lenses, recommending vision therapy, or monitoring progress, eye exams provide valuable insights into the overall health of your visual system.

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WHEN SHOULD I HAVE MY VISION EVALUATED FOLLOWING A HEAD INJURY? 

After a concussion, it's important to have a vision evaluation as part of the overall assessment of your health. Vision problems are common after head injuries, and prompt evaluation by a healthcare professional or optometrist specializing in post-concussion care can help diagnose and manage these issues. Here are some general guidelines for when to have a vision evaluation after a concussion:

  • Immediate Evaluation: If you experience significant vision problems immediately after the concussion, such as double vision, blurred vision, or difficulty focusing, it's crucial to seek medical attention promptly from a developmental optometrist. 

  • Within the First Week: Even if you don't experience immediate vision problems, it's a good idea to have a baseline vision assessment within the first week after a concussion. This can help identify any subtle visual issues that may develop or worsen over time.

  • Ongoing Evaluation: Some vision problems related to concussions may not become apparent until days, weeks, or even months after the injury. It's important to monitor your vision and seek follow-up evaluations as needed. If you notice any changes or new symptoms, such as persistent headaches, eye strain, or difficulty with visual tasks, consult a developmental optometrist. 

  • Rehabilitation and Vision Therapy: Depending on the findings of your evaluation, your healthcare provider may recommend vision therapy or rehabilitation to address specific visual deficits. Vision therapy can be highly effective in improving visual function and reducing discomfort.

  • Return-to-Play Assessment: If you or your child is an athlete, a vision evaluation should be part of the comprehensive assessment before returning to sports or other physical activities. This helps ensure that any vision-related issues do not pose a risk during physical exertion.

Remember that every concussion is unique, and the timing and extent of vision evaluation may vary based on individual circumstances. It's crucial to work closely with a developmental optometrist experienced in concussion management to determine the most appropriate timing and approach for vision assessment and rehabilitation following a concussion. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for individuals recovering from concussions.

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