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Seeing Double? Brain Injury Could Be Cause

Ophthamologist Air Force Maj. Thuy Tran evaluates a patient during an eye exam. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel)

Vision problems are common symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Sometimes, they can have a major impact on your quality of life. In fact, an estimated 60 percent of people with TBI have vision issues that may affect their professional and academic performance.

Car accidents, blunt force trauma and other possible traumatic events may lead to swelling in the brain. This can cause problems with vision or eye coordination. Visual problems after a TBI often affect eye coordination and can be difficult to diagnose, especially when there is no loss of clear vision or other outward sign of injury.

If you have any of these symptoms after a TBI, you may have a vision problem:

Vision Treatment Following TBI

Katie Stout, director of clinical affairs for Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), said specialized treatment is available for TBI-related vision challenges.

“These conditions often require specialty evaluation and treatment,” she said.

Specialty eye providers can prescribe corrective lenses, prisms, tints and rehabilitative therapy for TBI-related eye problems.

Dr. Felix Barker, an optometrist and associate director of research at the Defense Department Vision Center of Excellence, said appropriate specialty eye evaluation and care is a high priority when recovering from a TBI.

“Undiagnosed TBI visual coordination problems can affect near vision tasks such as reading, frustrating reintegration to normal work activities,” Barker said. “These silent visual effects of TBI may be inaccurately attributed to PTSD and cognitive problems often seen with TBI. Specialty eye evaluation and care is essential.”

If you recently experienced a TBI and notice problems with your vision, discuss the issue with your health care provider. Depending on the nature of the TBI and resulting vision symptoms, a health care provider may refer you to a specialist.

Comments (4)

  • Victor 26 Jan

    I suffered all of these symptoms plus extreme fever of 106+, convulsions, and COMA one year after Vietnam and 2 months after my discharge, but the VA examiners at Kansas City VA Hospital want to blame it all on child hood injuries. IT DOES NOT TO THE VA THAT THE FACTS ARE I WAS HOSPITALIZED A MONTH IN VIETNAM FOR EXPOSURE TO SOMETHING NONE OF THE DOCTORS COULD DIAGNOSE. I had PERMANENT DAMAGE from it and was issued a P-3 permanent profile due to the defects, and was nondelpoyable deployable, but all the MEDICAL TREATMENT RECORDS were HIDDEN OR DESTROYED INTENTIONALLY. The Agent Orange SCANDAL was in effect when i was DENIED SERVICE CONNECTION and ALL MEDICAL CARE, declaring "it does not cause any disabilities", but I was EVACUATED OUT OF VIETNAM for "Exposure to what". """What about the P-3 PERMANENT PROFILE and HOSPITALIZATION IN VIETNAM IN NOT SERVICE CONNECTED"""????? WHY AM I FED FULL OF BILLSH!T since June 1971???
  • Victor 26 Jan

    I appreciate this information in the article confirming exactly one one of my conditions I developed after Vietnam and before I was honorably discharged. COMA followed two months after I was released and has caused several strokes and a brain hypodensity, but the VA denies all the STRS. It denies I made any complaints, got any treatments, and there is no records supporting my claims, but I have a handful from Vietnam, a permanent profile on DA3349 for defects incurred in Vietnam in the line of duty, but Waco Texas denies what I have in my hands. Your article is correct, but veterans are denied for these conditions, even when exposed to dioxin.
  • Donnie Starnes 27 Jan

    I suffered a TBI in July"69, & Have PTSD ! Most days are Fine ,but sometimes Have Floaters & Double Vision. I had to get help from Son & Wife to get to bed one night Dizziness was so bad. I was wondering if it could be from TBI so many years ago ?
  • DCoE Public Affairs 13 Feb

    Donnie, we recommend you check in with your physician and share your concerns. Make sure you share your history of TBI and PTSD.

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