Doctors have always known that traumatic brain injury can affect vision. Now, researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School and St Joseph Mercy Health System have discovered that those vision changes can cause other symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, and anxiety. Better yet, there may be a way to treat those symptoms with eyeglasses fitted with special prism lenses.
People who sustain a head injury sometimes end up with a vision problem called “vertical heterophoria syndrome,” or VHS, in which the eyes go out of alignment with each other. This causes many different symptoms related to eye strain, sense of balance, and the ability to see straight. Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, light sensitivity, double vision, difficulty ready, motion sickness, poor coordination, drifting while walking, lightheadedness, nausea, etc. These symptoms can greatly reduce quality of life, and can be a challenge for doctors to treat successfully.
The Michigan researchers discovered that when people with VHS were fitted with special glasses that realigned the images so that they appeared in line again, symptoms were reduced by more than 70 percent. (April 2010 issue of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)
“Treatment [of traumatic brain injury] involves a multifaceted approach, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and multiple medications, and can take years to complete,” says Jennifer E. Doble, M.D., a physiatrist at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor. “Prismatic lens treatment seems to allow the other therapies to be effective more quickly. And as a result, patients get better quicker, reducing the time and cost of caring for this patient population.” (press release, PR Newswire)
We can get behind anything that helps brain injured people get better faster!