Symptoms and Treatment of Post-Concussive Syndrome
Post Concussive Syndrome can occur immediately after a concussion or many weeks later. Some of the most common symptoms are dizziness, headaches, nausea, double vision, blurry vision, photophobia, and poor focusing and accommodation. Accommodation is the ability of the eye to change focus from distance to near and vice-versa and is achieved by the lens in the eye changing shape. As a child, this is usually a simple task; after a concussion, this can be very difficult.
We live in a world of technology where staring at a phone or computer for hours a day is the norm. Unfortunately, after a concussion, it can become almost impossible to do this. A child in school will also have a hard time focusing on reading or taking an exam after a concussion. A school day is filled with visual stimuli, and a child’s eyes after a concussion can feel like they ran a marathon. The mere looking up and down at the blackboard and notebook can tire a child out in minutes. The inability to accommodate (focus) at near distances can cause headaches and dizziness. By the time your child has sat down for the first period, they have had to change focus more than a thousand times. Soon their eye muscles fatigue or starts spasming, and they are unable to properly focus when trying to read.
So, what can we do to help? What do we do that is different from a vision therapist?
We have a set of “tools.” These “tools” are specialized aligning eyeglass lenses that allow the patient to have immediate relief from these symptoms while their brain heals. So when your child looks down at the book on their desk, the words are no longer blurry, and their headaches are alleviated. They are now able to function better in school and can feel more confident. Unfortunately, results from vision therapy take a long time, which is costly. Usually, 24-36 sessions of vision therapy are needed to improve your child’s focusing. Vision therapy also includes eye “homework” in addition to the child’s school homework. If this daily vision therapy is not done, then no progress will be made, and the child will continue to struggle. We like to make every patient’s life easier, and we give them the tools to help them succeed academically and socially in a more timely fashion.
A concussion can also cause photophobia (light sensitivity) and hyperacusis (noise sensitivity). To help reduce noise sensitivity, we use noise-canceling headphones. We see significant improvement in other post-concussive symptoms from the use of the headphones, and patients can once again attend social events and spend quality time with their families.