5 Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

Unfortunately, a traumatic brain injury is as bad as it sounds. Occurring due to a violent blow to the head or body, it can also result from an object penetrating brain tissue, which happens with gunshots or when a skull is shattered. While various symptoms follow, some are directly related to a person’s vision. Here are five common symptoms of TBI that your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA will look for.

1. Blurred Vision

After even what is considered to be a mild traumatic brain injury occurs, blurred vision is a common symptom. Affecting one or both eyes, this symptom can display itself immediately following the injury, or perhaps not until days or weeks later.

2. Sensitivity to Light

Also common after a mild TBI, a person may start to experience extreme sensitivity when their eyes are exposed to sunlight, fluorescent lighting, or simply standard lighting inside their home. When this symptom appears, wearing sunglasses can be of some help until additional medical treatment is given.

3. Dilation of One or Both Pupils

When one or both pupils are dilated, there is no doubt whatsoever the person has suffered a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. A very common symptom following concussions, it is imperative medical treatment be sought as soon as possible, since this symptom is often a precursor to more serious issues.

4. Persistent Headaches Above the Eyes

With any type of TBI, most victims suffer persistent and sometimes very painful headaches, especially above their eyes. However, this can be mistaken for a tension headache or a headache associated with eye strain. Therefore, if a person has suffered a violent blow to the head or body and begins exhibiting such symptoms, a visit to the doctor is urgently needed.

5. Blindness

In rare situations, a blow to the head can result in blindness that is usually temporary. This can occur more with younger children than adults, since children’s skulls are more fragile and still developing.

If you have a family member who begins to display these symptoms or you yourself are having these symptoms, seek medical help at once. By getting help from your physician as well as your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA, the effects of a traumatic brain injury may be curtailed so that they impact your life as little as possible.

The General Traumatic Brain Injury Visual Assessment  

Vision is one of the most complex senses that we possess as humans. Many years of medical research have given new insight into just how much the brain can affect how we see. When you know this, it is easier to understand why individuals who sustained any type of brain injury may have problems with their vision. After a traumatic brain injury, it is critical that you are properly evaluated for visual issues. Here is a quick overview of how the traumatic brain injury visual assessment takes place.

The Initial Visual Screening Questionnaire

The very first thing your eye doctor will want to do when you come in for a traumatic brain injury visual assessment is a questionnaire. This questionnaire will generally ask you about:

  • The nature of the brain injury
  • Changes in your vision since the injury took place
  • Symptoms you have experienced with your vision and their severity

The answers given will determine how the eye doctor will proceed with further testing.

Screening for Visual Integrity or Acuity

A visual integrity screening includes using the Snellen Chart or Lea Symbol Test. These tests are similar to ordinary tests given during a typical visual exam and determine how well you are seeing specific objects at different distances or in different types of lighting.

Screening for Visual Efficiency and Skills

Brain injuries are commonly related to problems with visual efficiency and skills. Each individual can have a unique set of symptoms in these areas, and a series of unique tests may be used to evaluate the symptoms. A few things the eye doctor will be examining during visual efficiency and skills tests include:

  • Near eye alignment
  • Near convergence
  • Visual sequencing
  • Visual-motor skills
  • Spatial recognition
  • Eye teaming
  • Visual field skills and deficits

Learn About Traumatic Brain Injury Visual Assessment with a Hummelstown, PA Eye Doctor

Any time an individual has sustained a brain injury, it is imperative that they do get the proper evaluation by an optometrist. At Kirman Eye, we offer a full visual assessment for people who may have had their vision affected by a brain injury. Please reach out to us today to schedule an appointment if you need a qualified eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA.


What are Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses are an alternative form of contact lenses for people who are unable to wear traditional contact lenses for one reason or another. Your Hummelstown, PA eye doctor can help to determine if scleral lenses are an appropriate choice for your individual circumstances. Scleral lenses are different from regular contact lenses in the way they are shaped, their size, and the way they operate while in place on your eyes.

What are Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses are not contact lenses. Contact lenses rest atop the cornea, while scleral lenses vault over the top of the cornea. Hence, regular contact lenses make contact with the cornea; scleral lenses do not. The outer perimeter of scleral lenses rests gently on the whites of the eyes. In so doing, the scleral lens creates a perfectly smooth and rounded surface, which enables clear and focused vision.

Special Feature of Scleral Lenses

Since scleral lenses vault over the cornea of the eyes without making contact, it also creates a small cavity between the surface of the cornea and the inside top of the scleral lens. Fluid from the eyes builds up in this cavity to create a kind of reservoir. This is a special feature of scleral lenses that helps to treat the condition known as dry eyes. For this reason, scleral lenses are often recommended for dry eyes sufferers. Your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA will let you know if you have dry eyes and if scleral lenses might work for you.

What Conditions Are Scleral Lenses Good For?

Besides dry eyes, there are other conditions that scleral lenses are particularly good for. Some people suffer with keratoconus. This is a condition where the shape of the eye is irregular and hard or impossible to fit with regular contact lenses. Scleral lenses are also commonly prescribed for those who have had a corneal transplant for any reason, Stevens-Johnson syndrome or complications with laser eye surgery.

Scleral lenses have been in use since the early 1900’s and they are a widely used alternative to regular contact lenses. Their practical use ranges from simple treatment for dry eyes to enabling people to wear lenses who otherwise would be unable to. Ask your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA about scleral lenses to see if they are a good fit for you.


Are You at Risk for Macular Degeneration?

Around the planet, there are nearly 200 million individuals thought to be living with macular degeneration. This common age-related eye disease can lead to problems with your vision and blindness in the most severe cases. Here is a look at some of what you may want to know about macular degeneration.

Getting to Know the Typical Risks of Macular Degeneration

Primarily, macular degeneration is considered an age-related condition. The breakdown of the optic nerve can be the result of the aging process for some individuals, especially those over 50 years old. However, there are a number of other risks associated with macular degeneration, including:

  • Being a smoker or being around secondhand smoke for much of your life
  • Not following the healthiest diet
  • Being diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease
  • A family history of people with macular degeneration

When to Talk to the Eye Doctor About Macular Degeneration

It is good to be screened for macular degeneration if you believe you are at risk or if you are over the age of 50. However, speaking to the eye doctor is also important if you believe you have symptoms of macular degeneration no matter what your risks may be. Some symptoms include:

  • Distorted vision
  • Wavy lines in your vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty with recognizing common objects or faces
  • Changes in your center-focused vision

Testing and Diagnosis

A number of tests may be performed by your eye doctor in order to test you for macular degeneration. The initial test may involve dilating your pupils with special drops and then looking into the back of the eye for drusen, which can be more prevalent in the eyes of someone with macular degeneration. However, the eye doctor will likely perform a series of vision tests and tests using various instruments before making a proper diagnosis.

Talk to an Eye Doctor in Hummelstown About Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a worrisome condition because it can affect your visual performance. However, with an early diagnosis and the proper attention from an eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA, the progression of the condition could potentially be slowed. If you believe you are at risk for macular degeneration, reach out to us at Kirman Eye to schedule an appointment.

How a Concussion Can Affect Eyesight

While many people think a concussion is only a minor injury, it is classified as a traumatic brain injury and should be taken seriously. Often occurring in contact sports or when people suffer auto accidents or falls, a concussion involves the brain actually moving around inside your skull. While this will likely result in you having a headache and possibly some nausea, few people realize a concussion can also affect their eyesight. As for how, here are some common ways.

Post-Trauma Vision Syndrome

If you have persistent visual problems following a concussion, doctors may diagnose you with post-trauma vision syndrome. Happening in people who suffer even mild concussions, PTVS involves various issues that may alter your eyesight temporarily. However, when a concussion is very severe, people can experience total blindness for a period of time.

Double Vision

Most common with severe concussions, double vision is often a sign that a brain injury may be worse than originally thought, and thus should always be taken very seriously. An extremely disorienting condition, double vision results in dizziness, reduced hand-eye coordination, and difficulty walking, reading, and balancing.

Accommodative Dysfunction

Referring to a person having difficulty switching their focus from nearby objects to those located at a distance, accommodative dysfunction is something you may experience following any type of concussion. Hard to diagnose because your eyes will otherwise appear healthy, it will often dissipate on its own over time. Caused by an injury to the part of the brain stem that controls focusing, it rarely shows itself on an MRI.

Convergence Insufficiency

If you are diagnosed with this, it means your eyes will have difficulty establishing and maintaining binocular vision that is most often used when reading or working at a computer. In essence, your eyes do not want to work together and are often tired and achy when trying to do these tasks.

Sensitivity to Light

Finally, your eyes may be very sensitive to light after a concussion. When the brain suffers a blow, it becomes much harder for it to adjust to different levels of brightness, though researchers are now quite sure why.

Should you suffer these or other problems with your eyesight following a blow to the head, always seek medical treatment as soon as possible.


Bifocal Contact Lenses: An Introduction with FAQs

Bifocal contact lenses allow people who normally must rely on bifocal eyeglasses to get rid of their glasses and still see just as well in their day-to-day lives. If you wear bifocal eyeglasses, it is a good idea to talk to your eye doctor about bifocal lenses. Here is a look at some of the general questions you may have and the answers you will want to know.

Who is a good candidate for bifocal contact lenses?

Bifocal lenses tend to be a good option for patients who have been diagnosed with presbyopia, which is a condition that affects your ability to see objects up-close. If you already have bifocal lenses, you may have presbyopia or another condition that affects your vision capabilities when it comes to looking at objects in close proximity. People tend to be the best candidates for bifocal contact lenses as well if:

  • They do not have other eye health conditions like dry eye syndrome
  • They are comfortable with wearing contact lenses; not every patient is comfortable
  • They are vigilant about eye health, do not smoke, and can follow guidelines for changing lenses

How do bifocal contact lenses work?

Bifocal contact lenses work in much the same way as bifocal eyeglasses, they have separated sections that offer different optical adjustments. Therefore, you will see things differently depending on what direction you are focusing your eyes. For example, if you are looking downward, as you would while reading, you will see things in a certain way, but if you are looking straight ahead, you will see things a certain way.

Are bifocal contact lenses expensive?

Bifocal contact lenses can be a bit more expensive than traditional lenses simply because they are made differently with specific features. Nevertheless, the lenses are considered affordable and may be covered by certain types of medical insurance.

Let’s Talk About Specialty Contact Lenses in Hummelstown

Trading in your bifocal eyeglasses for bifocal contact lenses can really be a positive change in your life. Even though not every optometric patient is a good candidate for contact lenses, many are. Reach out to us at Kirman Eye in Hummelstown, PA to schedule an appointment to discuss contact lens options for you.