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How Concussion Can Impact Vision

Concussions are typically associated with sports injuries, vehicular accidents. As far as symptoms go, most people know that concussions can cause cognitive issues like loss of memory or even behavioral changes. But did you know that concussion can also impact vision? Learn more about the connection between concussion and vision.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is physical trauma to the brain. It’s caused by a physical impact that causes the brain to unnaturally move within the head. It may come about from a fall, blow to the head, bump or sudden back and forth movement, such as what occurs during a vehicle accident. Inside, the physical trauma may damage brain cells or cause a chain reaction of chemical changes that affect the vision or other bodily processes. Note that concussion is a serious injury that always requires emergency eye services in Hummelstown, PA.

How Concussion Can Impact Vision

If you or someone you know has incurred a head injury with concussion, it’s essential that you seek medical attention right away. Concussion can lead to vision loss on a mild or serious basis. The worst concussions can even cause permanent blindness. The optic nerve is responsible for sending vision signals to the brain for interpretation. When the brain is damaged due to concussion, the signals received from the eyes through the optic nerve may be hindered or stopped.

Symptoms of Post-Concussion Vision Problems

Your eye doctor in Hummelstown, PA will be able to diagnose any vision problems that you may have after experiencing a concussion. Primarily, the symptoms you experience may include:

  • Headaches, either chronic or sustained
  • Problems focusing on near or distant images
  • Vertigo
  • Seeing double
  • Difficulty walking in a straight line

If you have any difficulties with your vision after suffering a head trauma, contact your Hummelstown, PA eye doctor for immediate attention.

It’s important to note that concussion may affect different people in different ways. If you do experience head trauma, you may not have symptoms for several days, or you may have immediate symptoms. Either way, if your vision is impacted, see your Hummelstown, PA eye doctor right away.

Please feel free to contact us with any vision questions following a diagnosed concussion or head trauma. We offer emergency eye care services in Hummelstown, PA.

How Does a Cataract Affect Eyesight?

A cataract is a relatively common condition, but it’s not unusual for it to be mixed up with disorders like glaucoma or macular degeneration. Cataracts affect the lens of the eye and despite their proliferation, there’s still a lot that experts don’t understand about them. See how cataracts interfere with the signals our brains receive and how we perceive color.

From Crisp to Cloudy

Crisp to cloudy is essentially how you can think of a cataract affecting eyesight. When you’re young, the lens is clean, allowing you to see details and distinguish the color tones of nearly everything you see. It’s unclear what causes cataracts, but it’s been linked to anything from genetic history to smoking.

By the time people are in their 80s, more than half will have developed cataracts in one or both eyes. These are caused when the natural lens begins to cloud over and blur. With cataracts, the lens of the eye can no longer concentrate the light source in the retina due to protein loss. You might experience anything from tinted colors to poor night vision to double vision. Colors can also look faded, and light can sometimes appear as bursts (similar to a blinding bright lamp in the middle of darkness).

How Cataracts Are Treated

There are eyewear solutions for cataracts, which may include anything from a magnifying lens to antiglare sunglasses. However, these can only delay the onset of cataracts. The most common way to treat this condition is to perform cataract surgery on the eye. While no procedure is without risk, it’s one of the most routine operations a doctor can do. Usually lasting less than a half-hour, the doctor will make a very tiny cut into the lens of your eye and use a probe to break up the cloudy lens. From there, your lens can be removed and an artificial one can take its place.

The severity of cataracts may start off as barely noticeable, but it’s important to recognize the problem in its earliest stages before it compromises your well-being. Cataract surgery will help more than 90% of people have clear vision, which will inevitably allow them to maintain their independence and ensure their safety.

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.

 

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.

 

Fast Facts About Glaucoma Every Person at Risk Should Know

Glaucoma is a well-known eye disease that has a detrimental effect on the optic nerve in the eyes. While common, the eye disease is also one that many people do not understand or fully know about. Here are a few fast facts about glaucoma from us here at Kirman Eye in Hummelstown, PA.

Glaucoma is one of the biggest causative factors of blindness in the world.

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the world. While treatment can greatly reduce the risks of blindness, as much as 10 percent of those who are diagnosed and properly treated can also lose their vision. The earlier a patient is diagnosed and the earlier treatment begins, the better chance they will have of retaining their vision.

You may not have a single symptom of glaucoma before diagnosis.

About three million people have glaucoma at any given time, but as many as half of those individuals are not diagnosed and probably have no symptoms that point to glaucoma as a problem. Unfortunately, when the condition initially begins to develop, many people do not have any symptoms to spur them to seek treatment or testing. Some patients may experience pain and pressure in the eyes, but this may not show up until the optic nerve has been affected for a while.

All people can be at risk of having glaucoma.

Glaucoma does not only affect men, women, or certain ethnic groups, even though it is more common among women and African Americans. Everyone could potentially be at risk, but it is a common misconception that most people are not at risk.

Glaucoma is a progressive disease and there is no cure.

As of now, there is no cure for glaucoma. However, there are treatments that may help slow the progression of the disease and help to deter some of the pressure on the optic nerve. When you are initially diagnosed, your eye doctor will discuss the treatment methods available for you and your specific condition.

Talk to an Eye Doctor in Hummelstown About Glaucoma

Being vigilant about the health of your eyes means taking the time to familiarize yourself with the risks of certain eye health conditions, and glaucoma is one of them. If you suspect you could be at a higher risk of glaucoma or simply want to schedule an exam, reach out to us at Kirman Eye in Hummelstown, PA to make an appointment.