Although many people who suffer mild to moderate concussions recover with no lasting issues, some do experience ongoing symptoms, even after the acute concussion has resolved. These ongoing symptoms can include headaches, blurry vision, and tiredness. Over the past few years, doctors have become more skilled at identifying and treating these post-concussion symptoms, and they generally do so through a treatment protocol called concussion vision rehab, or concussion vision therapy. Here are some questions you may have if this treatment has been recommended for you.
Where does the treatment take place?
While you might assume you'd see a physical therapist for this treatment, it is generally conducted in an ophthalmologist's office. Not all eye doctors offer this sort of therapy, so even if you do have a regular eye doctor, your physician may refer you to a different clinic that has the equipment for concussion vision rehab.
What happens during the treatment?
Your eye doctor will evaluate the extent to which the concussion has affected your eye control and vision, and then they will recommend a specialized treatment program for you. Generally, you will be guided through a series of exercises that have you focus on certain points, follow certain dots or points with your eyes, and practice moving your eyes in various ways. You may also be given "homework" to do — in other words, vision exercises to perform — at home between visits. Most patients need to see the eye doctor for a session once a week. How long you'll need to keep going depends on how quickly your symptoms go away. Some patients are mostly cured within a month; others need 4 or 6 months of therapy.
How does treatment alleviate your post-concussion symptoms?
This therapy works under the assumption that the concussion caused trauma to your optic nerve and the nerves that control your eyes, and that the other symptoms you're experiencing are secondary effects of that trauma. For instance, your headaches are the result of having to try so hard to focus with your eyes. Your neck stiffness may be due to turning your head in certain ways to compensate for your declining vision. By correcting the vision problems in therapy, you thereby correct the other concussion symptoms, too.
Concussion vision rehab is one of the best options for the treatment of post-concussion symptoms. The exercises can be a little tough at first, but they are painless and effective.
Contact a local medical health professional to learn more about concussion vision rehab.