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Neuro Optometry

A profound review of Vision Therapy from one of our patients – Marsha R.

For you to understand the gratitude I have to Dr McCrodan and the neurovision therapists and staff of the Opto-mization clinic you will need some personal information.

When I was referred to the Opto-mization Neuro Visual Performance clinic I was surviving 15- 20 headaches and 6 – 8 days of debilitating painful migraines every month. I was unable to do much of anything without causing vertigo, double vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and pain in my head and neck. I had increased fatigue and was stressed, anxious and had trouble concentrating.

I have a complicated medical history including Rheumatoid Arthritis, auto-immune issues, Asthma, numerous concussions and other damaging effects from sports, abuse, and a car crash. I also had a previous history of severe chronic migraines since age 10 that included classic (seeing auras, blurred vision, light and sound sensitivity) and which mostly resolved to episodic migraine after menopause. My husband drown while we were on vacationing in Mexico in 2013 and the trauma caused me PTSD nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety. I also had cataract surgery in 2016 and made the grave mistake of have 2 different corrective lenses in my eyes, one for distance and one for reading (the theory was I would not need glasses). In 2018 my headaches started again, and my usual medication did nothing to relieve them. In Nov of 2019 I braked/swerved to avoid hitting a dog and hit a parked car, the damage was to my right rear-view mirror and their left-rear view mirror.

Why am I telling you this, you wonder?

So you are aware that I have lived with pain most of my life and had developed the resources and tools to advocate for myself and had taken responsibility to try many medical (Ophthalmologist, Allergist, Physio therapy, xrays cat scans pain medication etc.) nutritional (finding and removing trigger foods and adding more supplements) alternative/complementary and metaphysical therapies (chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, meditation, Tai Chi).

My GP of 27 years had passed away and I had to try find a new Dr. Then, explain my history and the steps I had already taken to try and alleviate the headaches, pain and nausea.

As my headaches continued to worsen there were many reasons I could be having them according to my new Drs. So, I worked to get off my opiate meds as they assumed I was having rebound headaches; I was getting a new treatment for the arthritis and PTSD and my life due to headaches was still getting even smaller.

These migraines were not like my “old” headaches.Added to pain, light and sound sensitivity was double vision, dizziness, anxiety, confusion, and severe neck pain. The nausea and vomiting were happening all the time.

  • I went from reading 5-6 books a week to barely reading 1 over many days because of double vision and headaches (I could only use a Ereader and I made the font huge)
  • I stopped hiking as the I had vertigo walking on uneven ground
  • I stopped writing
  • I couldn’t use my camera as trying to focus gave me a headache.
  • I stopped painting and card making because I couldn’t get my hand and eyes to work together (I went to eye ophthalmologist. – I passed all the vision tests but was given distance glasses for driving).
  • I hated to go grocery shopping, then all shopping, I got stressed and anxious (which they attributed to PTSD).
  • I was driving even less than before the cataract surgery and hated parking (I have always loved driving).
  • I stopped volunteering for Girl Guides as a trainer because I found it hard to concentrate and focus

My new GP recommended vestibular rehabilitation physiotherapy (head/neck) and I found Bernard Tonks and after spending 1 investigative session with him; he was able to show me that my eyes were not working together and explain that it was most probably a vision processing problem.

He referred me to Dr. Cameron McCrodan at the Opto-mization Neuro Visual Performance Clinic . After the thoroughly intense and extensive intake form and vision and visual tests Dr McCrodan explained we don’t see with our eyes. We see with our brain. He spent the time to go over the information and what I realised was my vision processing had in all probability sustained damage from concussions and the different lenses as well as the last accident.

I had not realized until that day that I had NO depth perception left and that a learned reading habit of fast scanning to avoid dancing and double letters as well as headaches, fatigue and anxiety were all related.

I was shocked by fact that he thought with hard work, commitment, new glasses, that may require multiple lens changes and a high price tag (for someone who lives on a fixed income) he was sure that working with neurovision therapist over 25 weeks I could be helped. I considered the money and the commitment and the possible hope of lessening the headaches. I left the clinic that day cautiously optimistic, wearing a pair of glasses with scotch tape on them to help start the process of correcting the depth perception, ordering new glasses, and booking weekly vision therapy sessions.

Vision Therapy – the reality

I started working on my vision therapy and like learning a new language, the exercises required practice and time commitment daily. At first, my symptoms, mostly dizziness, nausea and headaches were less intense but daily after doing my homework exercises. I learned to break them up through out the day and then to take breaks often.

My vision therapy started in the middle of covid and with my auto-immune disease I get colds quite often and would have to post pone my sessions. My original therapist had taken time off for health reasons and then I was up island and coming back weekly was stressful, so we went to every other week or virtually. Throughout all of that, I continued to do my exercises diligently.

I started to notice I was reading more often within a month. Some other changes we subtle, others, were more obvious to me and my support network. Like walking outside and then being able to walk on a park path then a hike in the woods.

The many and varied exercises boggled and fascinated me and my campground (LOL). Magnets, flashlights, 3D type glasses, exercises with names like Brock string, bug on a wall, using bean bags, blocks, string, tees, rope balls, I learned convergence, divergence, spatial awareness. My symptoms would lessen and some of my skills and hobbies returned so gradually I almost hadn’t noticed, like that I was writing short stories, taking pictures, making cards and painting rocks. I had moments that the improvement jumped a level and there were moments when I plateaued and was frustrated.

It has taken a year to do my 25 neurovision therapy sessions and I have had 3 changes of lenses in 3 pairs of glasses. I have my depth perception back and am now mostly able to recognise the things that can trigger vertigo symptoms. The debilitating headaches and nausea are so much better, so is my concentration and anxiety. I have my creative outlets back writing, crafting, photographing and the ability to read again and to read slowly and enjoy each sentence. These are all precious gifts and I sincerely thank Dr McCrodan, Eric, Maddi, and the clinic team for giving me back my life. To help me go from surviving to THRIVING.

THANK YOU

Marsha R.

How Concussions Can Affect Self-Esteem

How Concussions Can Affect Self Esteem 640X350When you consider the abundant functions of the brain, it’s no surprise that even slight damage to its sensitive tissues can wreak havoc on one’s physical and mental health. Many people experience some degree of emotional distress after suffering a head injury. But how can you tell if your symptoms are serious?

If you or a loved one has ever experienced a concussion, we urge you to learn more about the emotional and physical side effects it may bring, and discover how a neuro-optometrist can help.

What Occurs During a Concussion?

The nerves of the brain are surrounded by soft and fatty tissues, and these fragile nerves are further protected by a layer of fluid and the bony skull. During a sudden and forceful jolt or bump to the head or neck region, such as whiplash, the brain continues to move while the head has stopped moving. This causes the brain to slam into the inner walls of the skull or be shaken back and forth, resulting in a concussion.

This mild form of traumatic brain injury can damage or destroy brain cells, and may also negatively impact the healthy protective tissues surrounding the damaged cells.

Although concussions are considered ‘mild’ because they aren’t life-threatening, they can cause debilitating symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, blurred vision, balance problems, confusion and emotional distress, among others.

The Link Between Concussions and Self-Esteem

A concussion can negatively affect emotional well-being and self-esteem, both directly and indirectly.

A post-concussion patient may find it difficult to do the things they once enjoyed, like exercising, reading, doing schoolwork or even watching TV. Withdrawing from these activities, even temporarily, may result in feelings of depression, anxiety, and reduced self-worth. When you can’t read, concentrate or complete day-to-day activities as you once did, your limitations can become your main focus.

Concussions can also directly damage areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, directly affecting how a person relates to themselves and others.

A study published in Brain Injury (2014) concluded that a person’s self-concept may be impacted following a concussion/traumatic brain injury and that patients should seek treatment for emotional distress following a head injury.

Signs of Lowered Self-Esteem

Because each brain is unique, it’s hard to tell how a concussion will affect the patient, both in the short and long term. Here are a few signs that may reveal emotional distress and reduced self-esteem following a concussion:

  • Withdrawal from social events
  • Avoiding activities that were once enjoyable
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling unloved or unwanted
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Negative self-talk
  • Neglecting personal hygiene or appearance
  • Inability to accept compliments
  • Feelings of shame, depression or anxiety

If you or a loved one displays any of the above symptoms, rest assured that help is available.

How We Help Post-Concussion Patients

Recovering from a concussion can be difficult, but neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help by improving the neural communication between the eyes and the brain and how an injured brain processes visual information.

Concussions can significantly affect the eye-brain connections, resulting in symptoms like dizziness, inability to concentrate, light sensitivity and headaches, as well as emotional distress.

A neuro-optometrist can improve the functioning of the visual system in ways that other professionals aren’t trained to, thereby reducing — even eliminating — these debilitating symptoms.

By training the brain and eyes to efficiently work in unison, visual skills will improve and you’ll find it easier to do things like reading, watching TV, using a computer and concentrating without taking as many breaks.

If you or a loved one has ever sustained a concussion, a functional vision evaluation may be called for to rule out visual dysfunction. Even if you’ve been told that nothing can be done by other health care professionals, we may be able to help, even years after the injury.

Let us help you get back to doing the things you love. To schedule a functional visual evaluation, call Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance today.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance offers neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy to patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: What other conditions can neuro-optometry treat?

  • A: Neuro-optometrists help patients who’ve survived a stroke, sustained varying degrees of brain injury or have a neurological condition that impedes visual function. All of these conditions can adversely impact visual skills and may cause symptoms that hinder independent functioning and reduce one’s quality of life. By rehabilitating the visual system, a neuro-optometrist can provide relief and promote a greater degree of recovery to these patients.

Q: Do all optometrists provide neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: No. A neuro-optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry with specialized training in the area of visual system rehabilitation. A general optometrist performs eye exams, diagnoses and manages eye diseases and prescribes corrective lenses to patients. General optometrists do not have the training or experience to perform neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

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How Can Lyme Disease Affect Your Vision?

How Can Lyme Disease Affect Your Vision 640Lyme disease is an infection caused by a tick bite infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, the bacteria is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.

Lyme disease initially affects the skin near the bite site. However, if left untreated, the infection can extend to the nervous system, joints and other organ systems.

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease symptoms usually include a rash at the site of the bite that looks like a bull’s eye. Further symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands

As the disease progresses, one may develop memory loss, attention problems and numbness in the hands, feet and arms.

How Does Lyme Disease Affect Vision?

Lyme disease is typically divided into three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), Lyme disease can affect the eyes at any stage.

The severity of ocular problems may vary greatly. Different symptoms appear at different phases of the infection. The following are examples of possible Lyme disease eye complications:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, often known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the white part of the eye known as the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis usually appears within the first several weeks of the infection. According to the AAO, conjunctivitis affects roughly 10% of Lyme disease patients. Symptoms include red eyes, itchy eyes and discharge.

Light Sensitivity

For some, light sensitivity is a side effect of Lyme disease. Light sensitivity can also be an adverse effect of several antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease.

Inflammation

Lyme disease patients might potentially develop inflammation of the eye structures. Eye inflammation commonly appears in the third or late stages of the disease. Inflammation of the optic nerve can cause vision loss. Optic neuritis symptoms include eye pain, color vision loss, and flashing lights.

Inflammation of the retinal vessels can also cause impaired vision and floaters. Bell’s palsy-like symptoms might arise if the facial nerves become inflamed. Symptoms may make it difficult to close the eye, causing the cornea to become dry and potentially infected.

Visual Treatment of Lyme Disease

Medical treatment for Lyme disease doesn’t always address Lyme-related visual problems, and without treatment, vision may still be impaired long after medical treatment is completed.

Any inflammation in the body can negatively affect the functioning of the limbs and organs. This is especially true for the brain and the visual system, which are often affected by Lyme disease.

That’s where neuro-optometry can help.

Neuro-optometry evaluates how our eyes and brain function together. When Lyme disease affects that connection, a patient’s balance may be affected, causing their vision and depth perception to be affected as well.

A neuro-optometrist may utilize lenses, prisms and, in some situations, neuro-visual therapy. Neuro-visual therapy is a rehab program for those who have had a neurological incident that has affected their vision and its functioning/processing.

This is especially true in the case of children. Lyme disease can disrupt important developmental cycles, resulting in visual problems and the likelihood of developmental delays and learning difficulties.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance, to learn whether it has affected your vision.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

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What Is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome?

What Is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome 640×350Every year, tens of millions of people around the world sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The majority of TBIs are mild brain injuries, such as concussions. However, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries often result in some degree of visual dysfunction, as nearly half of the brain is dedicated to vision-related processing.

The symptoms of post-TBI visual disturbances fall under the umbrella term post-traumatic vision syndrome (PTVS).

What is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome?

Post Trauma Vision Syndrome is a disruption of the visual process. This disruption affects the neurological system that innervates the extraocular muscles that control eye movements, as well as the system that regulates focusing. This causes eye problems like difficulty with fixation, binocular fusion, and accommodative function.

What Are the Symptoms of PTVS?

Even with 20/20 vision, a TBI can cause the following visual dysfunctions:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Low blink rate
  • Depth-perception issues
  • Difficulty with eye-tracking
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Eye strain, especially while reading or using a computer

Non-visual symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Poor balance
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty driving
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Visual memory problems
  • Difficulty navigating through crowded or tight spaces

How Does a Neuro-Optometrist Treat PTVS?

Your neuro-optometrist will assess your ocular health as well as a wide range of visual abilities, including eye alignment and convergence function, focusing ability, peripheral awareness and more.

If deficits are discovered, your neuro-optometrist will create a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to improve any visual skills that have been harmed by the brain injury. The program may utilize specialized glasses or prisms to improve spatial and/or binocular vision.

It’s crucial to get treatment for PTVS as soon as possible to minimize deficits and regain quality of life. However, neuro-optometric rehabilitation can be effective even months or years after a TBI.

Schedule a consultation with Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance to start treatment for your PTVS today.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: What is neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a personalized program to develop, improve and refine underdeveloped or lost visual skills. This specialized treatment involves eye exercises, techniques and visual aids (i.e. prisms) that improve your visual processing and perception through the strengthening of the eye-brain connection.

Q: Is my concussion impairing my reading?

  • A: Many patients suffering from PTVS experience reading difficulties after their injury. Words might appear to be moving on the page or blurry. Another possible problem is not being able to remember what you just read, even after rereading it several times.

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4 Tips To Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury

4 Tips To Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury 640×350A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma, typically a sudden bump or blow to the head.

Concussions — a mild form of brain injury — are very common and represent approximately 80% of all TBI incidents. A concussion is a temporary loss of brain function caused by the brain bouncing around in fast motion within the skull, sometimes producing chemical changes or damaging the functioning of the brain cells.

Moderate to severe TBIs can cause loss of consciousness— from a few minutes to several hours.

Any TBI, whether mild or severe, can affect cognitive abilities and cause visual symptoms such as:

  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Partial or total loss of vision
  • Weakened eye muscles

4 Tips for Avoiding a Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the best ways to protect yourself from a concussion or more serious TBI is to put safety first, whatever your activity.

Wear Protective Sports Gear

Approximately 69 million TBIs occur each year worldwide, of which about 50% are sports-related. Wearing protective eyewear and a helmet when playing baseball, football, basketball, hockey or any other sport, can help prevent serious injuries, especially in children.

Wear Sunglasses

Glare from the sun can temporarily blind you while driving, walking across the street — during any activity, really. Wearing sunglasses is a simple way to reduce glare and prevent glare-related accidents.

Polarized sunglasses filter intense light that reflects off surfaces like water, glass, sand, snow and pavement, preventing glare from entering your eyes. Make sure the sunglasses you choose also offer 100% UV protection. Photochromic lenses are a good choice for people who wear prescription glasses since they darken when outdoors and become clear again indoors.

Pay Attention To Your Surroundings

As basic as it may seem, people often fail to pay attention to their surroundings. When walking, driving, or doing any other activity, try to minimize distractions. Stand still while speaking on your cell phone or texting. When you’re walking outside, keep an eye out for sidewalk cracks as well as overhanging branches and other sharp items or debris that could be hazardous.

Don’t Forget to Wear Your Seatbelt

For years, parents and doctors have been drumming this into our heads, and for good reason! The #1 way to prevent or minimize an injury from a car accident is by wearing a seatbelt.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information National Library of Medicine, one-quarter of all TBIs in North America are caused by road accidents. Those numbers rise to more than 50% in Southeast Asia and Africa.

How a TBI Affects Vision

A traumatic brain injury can impair your vision, causing light sensitivity, double or blurry vision, and persistent eye strain. In many cases, activities like reading a book, driving a car or watching TV can become much more challenging — or impossible — as a result of a TBI.

According to Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 90% of TBI patients suffer from visual dysfunction, making it all the more crucial to take precautionary measures to stay safe.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Can Help With Brain Injuries

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a personalized treatment program for patients with visual deficits due to physical disabilities and TBIs. The goal of neuro-optometric rehab is to minimize visual disability so that a patient can continue to perform daily activities, whether it’s learning in a classroom or being able to function in the workplace.

A neuro-optometric rehabilitation optometrist evaluates many functions of the visual system, such as how the eyes work together. Treatment options may include the use of various filters and prisms, and visual exercises to strengthen the brain-eye connection.

If you or a loved one displays double vision, light sensitivity, dizziness or any other TBI-related visual or balance-related symptoms, contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance immediately. Following evaluation, Dr. Cameron McCrodan or Dr. Scott Irvine may offer a customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to help regain any lost visual skills.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: What Does a Neuro-Optometrist Do?

A: A neuro-optometrist diagnoses general eye health problems and corrects refractive errors to improve visual acuity, as well as assess functional binocularity, spatial vision, and visual processing abilities.

Q: What causes a TBI?

A: Traumatic brain injuries can occur during everyday activities like walking, swimming, hiking, running or playing competitive sports.

The most common causes of TBIs are:

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


Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, all throughout British Columbia.

 

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3 Ways Neuro-Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors

3 Ways Neuro Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors 640Approximately 15 million people around the globe suffer from a stroke each year. An alarming two-thirds of stroke survivors experience some degree of visual dysfunction after the incident.

These problems can range from irritating to debilitating and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and ability to function.

Thankfully, there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from stroke-related vision problems.

At Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance, we are dedicated to helping post-stroke patients heal their visual system for long-lasting relief and a better quality of life.

Below, we’ll explore how a stroke can impact vision and what a neuro-optometrist can do to help.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when insufficient oxygen is delivered to the brain tissue, either due to leaking or bursting blood vessels, or a blockage within the blood vessel.

Serious brain damage can occur within minutes of a stroke, making early intervention crucial.

Signs of a stroke include:

  • Paralysis
  • Numb or weak limbs
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness or loss of coordination

Because a large portion of the brain is involved with vision, a stroke can also affect the eyes and visual processing.

How a Stroke Can Affect Vision

If a stroke occurs in the areas of the brain that control the eye, it can cause:

  • Blurred vision
  • Visual field loss
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nystagmus — rapid, uncontrolled eye movements

When a stroke affects the areas of the brain responsible for visual processing, it can cause:

  • Visual neglect — when the patient ignores stimuli from a portion of their visual field
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Poor depth and movement perception
  • Difficulty recognizing objects or people

3 Ways a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help Stroke Survivors

1. Identify and Diagnose Any Visual Dysfunction

A neuro-optometrist has the training and experience required to thoroughly identify, diagnose and treat even slight visual dysfunction that may be causing symptoms.

Your neuro-optometrist will perform a functional visual evaluation to assess neurological vision-related complications and identify the type of vision loss caused by the stroke.

 

2. Rehabilitate the Visual System

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy includes visual exercises that retrain the brain and eyes to work together.

During a stroke, certain neural connections may become damaged. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation aims to restore those connections and heal the visual system for long-lasting results.

3. Prescribe the Correct Lenses or Prisms, As Needed

A neuro-optometrist can prescribe specialized lenses or prisms that aid in the therapeutic process. Prism lenses shift images into the functioning part of a patient’s visual field, or, in the case of double vision or visual neglect, unite the images the two eyes are sending to the brain. In some cases, prisms can instantly relieve symptoms like disorientation or double vision.

Some patients only visit an occupational therapist or physical therapist after a stroke—and while these therapies are often necessary and helpful, they cannot treat the visual system or prescribe prisms.

How We Can Help

Stroke survivors deserve the best in rehabilitative care. That’s why we are passionate about restoring their independence and offering relief from incapacitating visual symptoms.

Furthermore, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy offers the added benefit of diminishing vertigo and depression and increasing confidence levels.

If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, we can help. To schedule your functional visual evaluation, contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance today.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, all throughout British Columbia.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: #1: Other than stroke patients, who can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help any person suffering from visual dysfunction after a head injury, traumatic brain injury or stroke, or anyone with neurological conditions that impact their vision. If you experience any symptoms associated with visual dysfunction like dizziness, disorientation, headaches, nausea or difficulty concentrating— it may be time to visit your neuro-optometrist.

Q: #2: Can neuro-optometry help if the stroke occurred months or years ago?

  • A: The best time to start treatment is as soon as possible following a stroke or head injury, but treatment can also be effective years later. The basis of neuro-optometry is neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change and build new neural connections. As long as a person is alive, there is potential to heal their visual system.


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4 Ways Vision May Be Affected Following A Stroke

headache womanAbout 2 in 3 stroke survivors live with some degree of visual dysfunction following the stroke. Although all brains are different and everybody reacts differently, 4 major categories of vision loss can be caused by a stroke.

A stroke can damage any segment of the neural pathway that connects the eyes to the brain or a section of the brain that processes the images the eyes send it. Damage to either area can lead to vision loss.

Stroke-related vision problems can make daily living a challenge, but there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from visual symptoms.

In honor of World Stroke Awareness Month, we’ll explore 4 types of stroke-related visual problems, and how Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance can help.

1. Visual Field Loss

A stroke can damage certain areas of the brain responsible for either central or peripheral vision, causing a portion of the visual field to be lost, causing vision to be ‘blacked-out’ or have ‘blind spots.’

In most cases, the same area of the visual field is lost in both eyes. This condition is called homonymous visual field loss, meaning a person may not be able to see the right or left side of their visual field from each eye.

Affected individuals may have difficulty with reading and may bump into things located in their blind spots.

2. Visual Processing Difficulties

Sometimes, a person may be able to see everything in their visual field but will have problems processing that visual information. For example, they may have the ability to see another person’s face, but might not recognize it. They may also have difficulty identifying or interacting with common objects, affecting daily tasks such as making a cup of coffee.

Visual neglect is the most common type of visual processing problem. People with this condition aren’t aware that they aren’t seeing people or objects on the right or left side of their visual field.

3. Eye Movement Problems

A stroke can damage the delicate nerves that control the eyes’ movements. A person who cannot control their eye nerves may have difficulty moving their eyes in order to shift their focus from one object to the next or have trouble tracking moving objects.

Nystagmus (involuntary and rapid eye movements) is also a possible complication of ocular nerve damage.

If only one eye is affected, the patient will usually experience double or blurred vision. Whether one or both eyes are affected, poor depth perception can result from eye movement dysfunction.

4. Dry Eye Syndrome

Stroke-related muscle weakness is common, especially in the eyes and face. If this occurs, the eyelids may not be able to fully close during blinking or while asleep. This can lead to dry eye syndrome, causing symptoms like red, itchy, watery, burning eyes and light sensitivity.

Fortunately, many of these post-stroke visual symptoms are treatable with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

A customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy program can help you return to your normal routine, or at least make daily life less challenging.

If you or a loved one have suffered a stroke, speak with Dr. Cameron McCrodan or Dr. Scott Irvine about getting your vision evaluated to identify deficiencies in the visual system. If a problem is found, we’ll help guide you through all of your treatment options for the best possible outcome.

To schedule your appointment or to learn more about what we offer, call Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance today.

serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, Vancouver Island, and throughout British Columbia.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: #1: What is neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a tailor-made program of visual exercises that train the eyes and brain to work together. Treatment can also include specialized lenses, prisms, and filters.

Q: #2: What other conditions can neuro-optometric rehabilitation treat?

  • A: Neuro-optometry can help patients with visual problems due to traumatic brain injury, stroke, physical disabilities and neurological conditions. A neuro-optometrist can help treat binocular vision disorders (BVD), strabismus, diplopia, oculomotor dysfunction, accommodation and convergence problems, and traumatic visual acuity loss.


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Boys With ADHD Are at Higher Risk for Brain Injury & Vision Problems

brother and sister 640Studies show that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur in approximately 17% of males worldwide.

To determine whether there is a link between inattention-hyperactivity and TBIs, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry [analyzed] data from 724 Canadian males aged 6-34. They collected information, examined health files and administered a questionnaire to the participants’ teachers on classroom behavior.

This study is the first to show that childhood behaviors, such as inattention-hyperactivity, predicted TBIs. The study also found that boys having sustained a TBI in childhood were more likely to have another one in adolescence.

In addition to headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, TBIs can also impair one’s visual function, typically causing headaches, blurred and double vision, and dizziness, among other symptoms.

At Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance, we help patients recover their vision through neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. By performing specific eye-training exercises designed to retrain the neural processes of the brain. This rewires the brain (neuroplasticity) and treats discomforts or struggles associated with visual dysfunction following a brain injury.

What Is a TBI and How Can It Affect Vision?

Traumatic brain injury is a disruption in the normal function of the brain caused by a jolt, blow, or bump to the head, or harsh head injury, whether from a sports-related injury, fall, or car accident.

This can significantly impact the functioning of the visual system. While certain brain injuries may cause permanent damage to the optic nerve, it’s more common for it to disrupt communication between the eyes and brain.

Post TBI visual problems may include:

  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Focusing problems
  • Problems with walking and stride

Why Do Boys with Inattention & Hyperactivity Incur More Head Injuries Than Others?

While there’s still a lot we don’t know about the link between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and concussion, research shows a few connections.

Children and adults with ADHD tend to have poor impulse control, inattention, difficulty maintaining attention, and high energy levels, all of which places them at risk of getting a concussion.

Additionally, many children diagnosed with ADHD are encouraged to participate in sports to help with social interaction, self-esteem and hyperactivity. While this is beneficial on many levels, if they have poor visual-motor speed, or depth perception they’re more likely to collide with teammates, potentially causing a concussion.

Lastly, research also suggests that ADHD may involve problems with visual or auditory processing that may also contribute to the risk of concussion.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists offer a customized treatment regimen for people with visual deficits resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). It addresses problems related to eye teaming, tracking, and focusing that can make it difficult to read and complete tasks. By training the brain to communicate with the eyes more effectively, symptoms like dizziness and headaches can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

If your child exhibits ADHD behaviors and has experienced a concussion contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance for a comprehensive eye exam. If vision problems are detected, we’ll offer a personalized treatment program to strengthen any lagging visual skills that may be getting in the way of your child’s quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan or Dr. Scott Irvine

 

Q: What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation?

  • A: Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation provides a personalized treatment regimen for those who have visual deficits caused by physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological insults. Neuro-optometry makes use of therapeutic prisms, lenses, filters, and specific vision therapy techniques to reteach the damaged parts of the brain to function better.

Q: How Are Vision Problems Found After a TBI?

  • A: Visual aberrations following a brain injury tend to be overlooked during the initial treatment, as the patient may have serious, life-threatening issues that require urgent medical attention. Furthermore, symptoms may not even present themselves until some time has passed following the injury. The earlier you see a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Optometrist, the better.Early diagnosis leads to more efficient treatment.


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What’s the Connection Between Sleep Apnea, Concussion, and Your Vision?

Sleep Apnea 640A recent comprehensive sleep study on people with post-concussion syndrome showed that 78% were diagnosed with sleep apnea.

What came first: the concussion or sleep apnea? Determining the answer can be difficult. People who don’t get enough sleep already exhibit some of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome even when they haven’t had one.

What we do know is that there is a connection between sleep apnea and concussion. Sleep apnea affects the recovery from a concussion, and at the same time, the condition may result from a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Where does vision come in?

Sleep Apnea and Concussions

For those having sustained a concussion, sleep is very important for a speedy and thorough recovery. A poor night’s sleep, as in the case of sleep apnea, may lead to impaired decision-making, cognitive loss, and symptoms of depression—all of which can interrupt the recovery process.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of sleep apnea, is caused by a physical collapse or blockage of the upper airway that interrupts breathing during sleep. This also reduces blood and oxygen flow to the brain, making it difficult for those with a concussion to recover.

A lesser known type of apnea is central sleep apnea. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, this type is caused by a dysfunction in the brain that regulates breathing and sleep, which could also be affected by a TBI.

Sleep Apnea and Vision

As we all know, getting a good night’s sleep is essential to good health. There are a number of eye conditions that are exacerbated by poor sleep patterns and therefore may be associated with sleep apnea.

These include:

  • Floppy eyelid syndrome
  • Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy
  • Papilledema
  • Glaucoma
  • Swelling of the optic nerve
  • Retinal conditions

Getting your eyes checked regularly is important as it allows your eye doctor to rule out any eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss. This is all the more important if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Concussions and Vision

Concussions can have a significant impact on the functioning of the visual system. Post-trauma vision syndrome is a group of symptoms that cause eye coordination problems, dizziness, and blurred vision after a concussion.

The symptoms of post-trauma vision syndrome can include:

  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Focusing problems
  • Problems with walking and stride

Severe concussions can cause double vision and blindness, while mild concussions can affect vision and cause visual dysfunction.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists can help post-TBI patients in ways that other health care providers may not be able to.

Neuro-optometry deals with how the visual system impacts daily functioning. By training the brain to control and communicate with the eyes more effectively, symptoms like headaches and dizziness can be significantly reduced or disappear altogether.

If you have experienced a concussion or suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance to follow up on a diagnosis and treatment for any vision problems you may be having due to either condition.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Vancouver Island, all throughout British Columbia.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Cameron McCrodan & Dr. Scott Irvine

Q: What’s the connection between sleep apnea, concussion, and your vision?

  • A: After sustaining a concussion, you may begin to experience sleep apnea. This not only affects the healing process but your vision as well.

Q: Is there a way to treat vision problems due to a concussion?

  • A: Yes. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can retrain the brain to relieve dizziness, headaches, double vision, and other TBI-related problems.


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10 Things About Vestibular Disorders You Probably Didn’t Know

tired woman 640The vestibular system is what helps us feel balanced and stable. People with vestibular disorders may experience symptoms like frequent dizzy spells, blurred vision, disorientation, falling, or stumbling. What many don’t know is that an optometrist trained in the field of neuro-optometry may be able to help. Read on to learn more about vestibular disorders and how we may be able to treat your dizziness.

10 Quick Facts About Vestibular Disorders

  1. Vestibular disorders affect more than 35% of adults over the age of 40.
  2. The vestibular system is made up of tiny fluid-filled parts within the inner ear, acting like a builder’s level, communicating with specific areas of the brain to process balance and movement.
  3. Other symptoms of vestibular disorders include nausea, fatigue, difficulty focusing on objects, poor concentration, difficulty reading, hearing loss, and ringing in the ear. Many of these symptoms may overlap with other conditions, so be sure to visit your doctor or eye doctor to rule out these conditions.
  4. Vestibular disorders can be caused by injury, disease, drug or chemical poisoning, ageing, and autoimmune diseases.
  5. Certain lifestyle changes can help ease symptoms of vestibular disorders. Reducing your intake of salt, caffeine, and alcohol could improve your condition.
  6. Vestibular disorders can be challenging to diagnose. Many patients report visiting four or more physicians over the course of several years before receiving a proper diagnosis.
  7. Some common vestibular disorders are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, Meniere’s disease, and vestibular migraine.
  8. Sadly, patients with undiagnosed vestibular disorders may sometimes be perceived as lazy, anxious, inattentive, or attention-seeking.
  9. While there is no cure for vestibular disorders, some treatments can help cope with the condition, such as medications, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation, which is a form of vision therapy, can be life-changing for some patients.
  10. There is hope! Neuro-optometrists who perform neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help many patients suffering from dizziness or other symptoms of vestibular disorders by improving the way the brain processes information. In some cases, vestibular disorders are caused or exacerbated by poor coordination between the eyes and the brain. With neuro-optometric therapy, patients learn how to train their eyes and brain to work in unison, lessening or eliminating many of the symptoms associated with the condition, including dizziness and disorientation.

If you are experiencing dizziness, contact Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance to schedule your functional visual evaluation. If your vision is healthy and doesn’t seem to be contributing to your symptoms, we can refer you to other health care professionals who can help.

Opto-mization NeuroVisual Performance serves patients from Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, Vancouver Island, all throughout British Columbia.

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