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Neuro Optometry

Dizziness and Balance: How Vision Plays a Vital Role

dizzyImagine trying to navigate a grocery store when, all of a sudden, a dizzy spell hits. The room starts to spin and you lose your balance. You struggle to stand up straight, your vision becomes blurred and orienting yourself in your surroundings becomes insurmountable. To those with vertigo and balance problems, performing simple daily tasks — such as grocery shopping — can feel defeating.

Maintaining proper balance is complex and relies on the collective, healthy functioning of three separate systems: the inner ear, muscle-joint feedback, and vision. Ongoing research suggests that there may be a relationship between a heightened risk of falling and poor vision.

If you experience frequent dizzy spells and difficulty maintaining your balance, make an appointment with [tokensname=’SpDoctorVT’] to rule out any visual dysfunction that could be at the root of the problem.

How Does Vision Affect Balance and Dizziness?

A good sense of balance depends on your ability to see where you are in relation to your surroundings as well as where certain key body parts are in relation to the rest of the body. This information is received by receptors in the muscles and joints but also implicates vision.

The most important visual skill needed to maintain balance is binocular vision, which is the eyes’ ability to work together in creating a clear and unified view of the world around you. The visual system helps regulate the other systems involved in maintaining balance, this means that any defect in the visual system can lead to frequent falls and a balance disorder.

Visual dysfunctions that cause blurred or double vision are common in balance disorders, but can also be its root cause. By improving your vision functionality, you could significantly improve balance and diminish the frequency of dizzy spells.

We Treat Visual Dysfunctions To Improve Balance and Reduce Dizziness

To get to the root of the condition and to assess its connection with vision, will evaluate a wide range of visual skills, such as oculomotor skills, eye teaming and tracking, focusing, visual processing, and how well the brain interprets visual information.

If a visual dysfunction is detected, a fully customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation program will be provided to treat the visual components contributing to the balance disorder. With the patient’s participation and diligence, the visual skills and abilities can be improved over time.

What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, a form of vision therapy, enables those suffering from visual problems to retrain the brain and eyes to regain functionality and quality of life. This therapy uses a variety of methods and techniques to train both eyes to work as a team. It is made up of individualized exercises, which, when done over a period of time rehabilitate visual, perceptual and motor disorders, thus helping the patient regain balance. This effectively reduces or resolves symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and lack of balance.

The neuro-optometric rehabilitation program offered at can help detect and treat the underlying vision problem causing your dizziness and balance issues.

If you’ve tried other types of therapies and still experience dizziness and balance problems, it’s time to see what can do for you. Start your journey to recovery by calling and schedule your appointment today.

Dizziness and Balance: How Vision Plays A Vital Role from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

serves patients from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, and throughout Virginia.

Tips to Avoid a Concussion or TBI

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The complexity of the brain is truly fascinating; any slight change in its chemistry or structural integrity can result in a multitude of health problems, such as visual disturbances or permanent vision loss. This can affect everyday activities such as driving, walking, reading, using a computer, and staying focused. Below we’ll discuss what traumatic brain injury is and how to avoid one.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma, typically a sudden blow or bump to the head.

Concussions — a mild form of brain injury — are very common and makeup 75% of all TBI incidents. A concussion involves a short loss of normal brain function, as the hit can cause the brain to bounce around in rapid motion within the skull, occasionally causing chemical changes or damaging brain cells.

Moderate to severe TBIs cause the victim to lose consciousness from a few minutes to several hours. This can impact cognitive capacity along with other visual symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty reading and writing
  • Partial or total loss of vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Weakened eye muscles

There are numerous ways a TBI can occur, most of which are activities most of us do on a daily basis.

What Causes Traumatic Brain Injury?

Head injuries that cause TBI can happen during everyday activities such as running, hiking, swimming, or competitive sports.

The most common causes of TBIs are:

  • Sports injuries
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Being struck by an object

TBIs are more common than one would expect, affecting 10 million individuals around the globe annually. Below we’ll discuss what steps to take in order to prevent a TBI.

Tips for Avoiding Concussion and TBI

ski kidsOne of the best ways to protect against a concussion or TBI is to avoid any risky behavior. While this isn’t always possible, there are some steps you can take to protect your brain and eyes from trauma and damage.

Here are our top four tips:

1) Wear Protective Sports Gear

There are 3.8 million TBIs occurring each year in the US, and 20% are from sports. Wearing protective helmets and eyewear when playing basketball, baseball, or football can help prevent serious injuries, especially in children.

Speak with about shatter-resistant polycarbonate or Trivex lenses, known for their impact-resistant materials.

2) Wear Sunglasses

Sun glare can cause momentary blindness. It’s that quick second of feeling blinded by the sun while you’re outside, driving in a car, or at the beach that can make you vulnerable to injury. An easy way to guard against this is by wearing sunglasses.

Sunglasses with polarized lenses prevent glare from entering your eyes by blocking strong light that reflects off surfaces such as glass, water, snow, sand, or pavement. Make sure that the sunglasses you choose contain 100% UV-blocking protection. Photochromic lenses are a smart option for those with prescription eyeglasses, as they darken when outside and revert back to clear lenses when indoors.

3) Pay Attention To Your Surroundings

As obvious as this may sound, people often forget to pay close attention to their surrounding environment. We all know that talking on the phone or texting while driving is dangerous, but being unaware of what’s happening around you can pose certain risks as well. Try to reduce your distractions when walking, driving, or performing any extraneous labor. When outdoors, be on the lookout for sharp objects or debris that can pose a risk.

4) Don’t Forget to Wear Your Seatbelt

Parents and doctors have been drumming it into our heads for years, and for good reason! The #1 way to prevent or reduce car accident injuries is by wearing a seatbelt. According to The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.6 million American drivers and passengers were treated in hospital emergency rooms for car accident-related injuries in 2016. Transport Canada estimates that 25% of car accidents where victims were not wearing seat belts resulted in serious injuries, while 55% were fatal. In fact, car accidents are the number one cause of TBI-related deaths in America, especially among adults aged 20-24.

How a TBI Affects Vision

A TBI can negatively impact your vision, leading to sensitivity to light, blurry or double vision, or persistent eyestrain. In many cases, certain types of activities that were easier before the TBI suddenly become difficult. These include reading a book, driving a car, or watching TV.

Studies show that about 90% of TBI patients suffer from such visual dysfunctions, making it all the more critical to take precautionary measures in staying safe.

If you or a loved one displays any of these symptoms following a TBI, contact right away. can offer a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to help regain any visual skills that were lost. Feel free to call us with any questions you may have – we’re here for you.

REFERENCES

https://www.traumaticbraininjury.com/severe-tbi-symptoms/

https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/concussion-tbi.htm

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/facts-and-figures

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/seatbelts/facts.html

https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/road/publications/canadian-motor-vehicle-traffic-collision-statistics-2016.html

Can Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Help Stroke Patients With Vision Problems?

senior woman with middle aged woman blog imgIf a loved one recently suffered a stroke and is still struggling with the after-effects, you will want to do everything in your power to help them quickly recover. Unfortunately, it can be painstaking to find the right treatment for their specific needs.

The first thing to keep in mind is this: a single treatment is not going to cure everything. Instead, combining a set of complementary therapies promises optimal results. Read on to find out how neuro-optometric rehabilitation plays an important role in the recovery process from a stroke.

How Does a Stroke Affect Vision

A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain (or a section of it) is interrupted. In other types of strokes, a blood vessel in the brain bursts causing major damage in the area. Depending on where in the brain the stroke occurs, it affects different body functions.

Because visual information is processed through the visual cortex of the brain, any brain damage may also affect vision-related processes and quality of vision. Such visual defects are not always obvious and frequently overlooked in initial evaluations following a stroke.

Try to help the stroke victim identify any of the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision (even over short periods)
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Reduction or loss of visual field
  • Headaches when engaged in visual tasks
  • Reading difficulty
  • Difficulties with eye movements

If any of these symptoms are present, a thorough assessment by a neuro-optometrist is needed.

Why Consult a Neuro-Optometrist?

A regular eye exam by an optometrist checks for eye diseases and visual acuity. A functional eye exam by a neuro-optometrist takes a completely different approach. The goal is to identify neurological vision-related issues and address the types of vision loss caused by a stroke.

About one-third of post-stroke patients experience one or more of these conditions:

  • Loss of visual field – Part of the person’s visual field disappears. In many cases, they will see only the right or the left half of it.
  • Lack of control over eye movements – When the eye nerves are damaged, the eyes may not move as desired or move involuntarily, causing eye turn (strabismus), double vision (diplopia), or other similar issues.
  • Constant, unsteady eye movement (nystagmus) – A continuous fidgety jiggle of the eye, which can move up and down, sideways or in a circle.
  • Visual neglect – When the person is not aware of or does not respond to something he/she sees. There is nothing wrong with the eyes themselves, but the brain does not interpret the images it receives.
  • Agnosia – Often people have trouble recognizing familiar objects and even faces. The cause is similar to visual neglect.

It is easy to see how these affect the overall behavior of a person. At the same time, many may mistake their lack of orientation, bumping into things and/or ignoring people for a problem unrelated to vision.

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Choosing the Right Neuro-Optometrist for a Stroke Patient

An exam by qualified professionals will provide clarity into the situation, so make sure to choose an optometry practice that includes a neuro optometrist with extensive training and experience in neuro-optometric rehabilitation such as .

The therapy may include prism lenses to shift images into the visual field or join the images in case of double vision. Exercises to train the brain to manage vision and compensate for vision loss are also part of the therapy.

Your loved one deserves optimal healing, and to ensure this, rehabilitative vision therapy should be part of the overall treatment plan. If he or she is already undergoing physical or occupational therapy, consider adding neuro-optometric rehabilitation for a more holistic approach and better results.

How Successful Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Vision therapy will help improve the condition of your family member or friend. The speed and extent at which the patient will recover depend on the severity of the condition. Having said that, keep in mind each person is unique and reacts differently to the same treatment.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is not a cure, but it will enhance visual skills and quality of life for the person you care for.

When vision is dysfunctional, so is everything else. Getting one’s vision back on track can greatly enhance daily function and quality of life. Help your loved one get his/her life back, contact today.

Serving patients in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, and throughout Virginia.

Resources:

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/about-brain-injuries-vision/stroke-and-vision

https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke/effects-of-stroke/physical-effects-of-stroke/physical-impact/visual-disturbances

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/conditions-treated-by-neuro-optometric-rehabilitation

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/what-is-neuro-optometric-rehabilitation

https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Help-after-stroke/Stroke-resources-and-fact-sheets/Vision-loss-after-stroke-fact-sheet

5 Things About TBIs You Never Knew

photo of head bust print artwork blog imageA Traumatic Brain Injury (or TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma, typically a sudden blow or bump to the head. This can lead to severe health problems because unlike other physical injuries, a TBI affects the brain which controls, well, pretty much everything else in the body.

Traumatic Brain Injuries occur more frequently than is generally assumed. In fact, there are a number of myths and misconceptions about TBIs, which is why we wrote up 5 things about this condition that you probably didn’t know:

1. A Concussion Does Not Automatically Lead to Unconsciousness

A mild form of TBI is known as a concussion. TV and movies frequently give the impression that people pass out when concussed, but these reactions are dramatized and not quite realistic. Most people who suffer concussions remain awake and aware of their surroundings, despite being less alert than usual. Only around 10% of concussion incidents result in a loss of consciousness.

2. In the United States, A TBI Occurs Every 9 Seconds!

An estimated 1.7 million Americans suffer from traumatic brain injury every year, and of those, about 75% of the cases are mild brain injuries or concussions. In Canada, the rates are equally alarming with 452 Canadians incurring severe brain injuries on a daily basis – excluding concussions. Not surprisingly, TBIs are often referred to as a silent epidemic.

3. Falls Are the Most Common Cause of TBI’s

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, falling is the number one cause of TBIs. The second most common cause is being hit in the head with an object or a car accident. Among children and teens, a whopping 21% of TBIs occur during sports, such as running, hiking, biking, swimming, skating.

4. Women Are at Higher Risk for TBI’s Than Men

Though experts don’t know why gender seems to play a role, women experience a higher risk of incurring a TBI than men. Studies have tried to determine the reason behind these statistics, and while it still remains unclear, the hormones in the brain are thought to contribute on some level.

5. 90% of TBI Cases Result in Some Form of Visual Impairment

According to the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, 90% of TBI patients experience visual problems associated with their concussion. The most common visual disturbances include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Headaches due to eye strain
  • Difficulty reading
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Eye movement complications

Keep in mind that vision problems may not be immediately noticeable following the trauma. It may take weeks for certain visual aberrations to manifest, which is why it’s imperative to schedule an eye exam at as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one displays any of these symptoms following a TBI, speak with regarding the neuro-optometric rehabilitation program. This rehabilitation program is a safe, practical, and effective method used to help patients regain visual skills adversely impacted by brain injury.

provides treatment for TBI patients from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, and throughout Virginia.

REFERENCES

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/facts-and-figures

https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/concussion-tbi.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2651745/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4901830/