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You probably know the symptoms of a concussion: headaches, dizziness, light sensitivity, nausea, and more. But not all signs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) will appear right away. It could take up to a week for symptoms to emerge — and they can persist for weeks or even months at a time. 

‌What if your symptoms don’t seem to be going away at all? If you’re still experiencing concussion symptoms three months after a concussion, this might be a sign of post-concussive syndrome. 

‌Whether it’s a car accident, a football game, an accident around the house, or another form of trauma, a brain injury can cause a host of problems, including damage to your vision. Not only are these vision problems — blurred vision, dizziness, difficulty reading, double vision, and more — often overlooked, but they can also be a sign of an uncorrected binocular vision problem caused by the TBI. ‌

What is Post-Concussive Syndrome?‌

Post-concussive syndrome refers to symptoms that may persist months after receiving a TBI. Around 30% of patients experiencing post-concussive symptoms for three months or longer may have developed binocular vision dysfunction, which occurs when the eyes are misaligned.‌

When the signal sent from the eyes to the brain is disrupted, the eyes can become misaligned and produce double vision. The brain attempts to correct this double vision by moving the eyes back into their original position. The strain of adjusting these muscles can lead to symptoms, including: 

  • Light sensitivity 
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches 
  • Migraines 
  • Difficulty reading 
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Limited eye movement
  • Poor balance 
  • Eye strain 
  • Neck pain
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating

‌When initially diagnosing and treating a concussion, some doctors overlook these visual symptoms, or simply attribute them to the concussion itself. However, it may be possible that the TBI triggered binocular vision dysfunction, which requires treatment with prismatic lenses. ‌

‌Treatment for Post-Concussive Syndrome 

To treat binocular vision dysfunction caused by or exacerbated by a TBI, an evaluation must first be done by a specialist. Using lights and special lenses, the specialist can identify which muscles aren’t properly aligned. ‌Using this evaluation, they can create a unique pair of prism lenses to realign the muscles gradually. Prism lenses, which look just like an ordinary pair of glasses, can adjust the image to the eye’s natural position. 

‌This prismatic correction will realign the eyes and allow the eye muscles to relax. Most people experience immediate results—up to a 50% reduction in their symptoms. Over the next few months, they can experience a 70 to 80% reduction of symptoms while wearing the prism glasses. ‌

What Your Post-Concussion Symptoms Could Mean

‌Not everyone realizes just how long the effects of a concussion could last. If you’re still experiencing these symptoms three months after a concussion, it’s time to get to the root of the problem. ‌

Dr. Erin Sonneberg of NeuroVisual Specialists of Florida and iSee VisionCare is one of only eight optometrists in the country certified to treat binocular vision dysfunction—and the only one in the state of Florida. We specialize in helping patients who have struggled with these symptoms for months or even years after being misdiagnosed.‌

If you think you might be struggling with binocular vision dysfunction, take our questionnaire to learn more about your symptoms and what they could mean. To schedule an examination or discuss further with our team, contact us today. ‌

Dr. Erin Sonneberg, OD, received her Doctor of Optometry degree from New England School of Optometry in Boston, Massachusetts in 2004. She completed her undergraduate studies at City University of New York, Queens College in 2000, where she graduated with honors in business. Dr. Sonneberg relocated to Boynton Beach, Florida, in 2006, and has been practicing alongside prestigious ophthalmologists in the area since that time.