Simply put, a concussion is the most common type of
traumatic brain injury. Though concussion results very
often show no structural abnormalities on
neuroimaging offered by CT scans or MRI’s, there
can be substantial disruption to normal, functional
There are several physical symptoms of concussions,
including headaches that may coincide with visual and
cognitive issues. Nausea, vomiting, disorientation/balance issues, and fatigue are amongst other common physiological symptoms. For some, symptoms go on for days or weeks but for others, particularly in cases left untreated or of repeat concussions, the effects may be felt for years.
In determining the prevalence of visual diagnoses after concussion injuries in adolescents, Clinical Pediatrics researchers found 69% of the 100 adolescents examined had one or more visual diagnosis and 46% of the sample had two or more diagnoses. Symptoms of visual disturbances included blurred vision, reading or tracking issues, diplopia (double vision), visual field restrictions, color deficits, confusion, memory issues or trouble concentrating¹.
Prevalence of Concussions
It is estimated between 1.6 to 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions occur in the United States each year. Next to vehicle accidents, sports injuries are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in 15-24 year old age groups. Concussions represent 8.9% of all high school sports injuries and 5.8% of all collegiate sports injuries with a higher incidence rate in females than male counterparts. Estimated injuries with loss of consciousness occurs at a rate of 9.3 injuries per 100 adolescents each year².
Treatment of Concussions
As concussion injuries continue to grow, so does the need for immediate detection, accurate testing measures and establishing proper treatment protocols. Optometrists are in a unique position to screen for, diagnose and treat concussion related traumas. Our office provides both concussion baseline testing, as well as follow-up tests in the event of a future injury or accident.
1-2 Master C, Scheiman M, Gallaway M, Goodman A, Robinson R, Master S, Grady F. Vision Diagnoses Are Common After Concussion in Adolescents. Clinical Pediatrics. 2015.10: 1177.
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