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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 Vision Therapy Center at Clarity Optometry to follow up on a diagnosis and treatment for any vision problems you may be having due to either condition.

Vision Therapy Center at Clarity Optometry serves patients from Hamilton, Ancaster, The Greater Hamiton Area, and , all throughout Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Garzon

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.


Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 905-692-EYES

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 Vision Therapy Center at Clarity Optometry 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.

Vision Therapy Center at Clarity Optometry serves patients from Hamilton, Ancaster, The Greater Hamiton Area, , all throughout Ontario.

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 905-692-EYES

Experiencing Headaches? Visual Problems May Be the Cause

Experiencing Headaches 640We’ve all had it. A sudden headache that seems to pop up out of nowhere, rendering the most routine tasks unpleasant—even impossible. What many people don’t know is that visual problems can cause mild to severe headaches.

Certain Vision Problems May Cause Headaches

If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, certain eye conditions may be causing your pain:

  • Strabismus: (also called visual misalignment or crossed eyes) when the eyes aren’t lining up with each other and produce images in double vision
  • Binocular vision dysfunction: when the eyes’ line of sight don’t match, and the eye muscles strain to produce a focused image
  • Presbyopia: commonly referred to as age-related farsightedness, it is characterized by the difficulty in reading small text up-close. This is caused by the thickening of the eye’s natural lens.
  • Astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness: when a misshapen cornea produces blurred or distorted vision and difficulty seeing either near or far-off objects

A note of caution.

If your headache is severe, something far more serious may be occurring. A sudden, severe headache may be a symptom of a stroke or a sight-threatening eye condition that requires immediate medical care.

This can include:

Acute angle-closure glaucoma: This occurs when fluid pressure builds inside the eye, leading to severe headaches, eye pain, blurry vision, and seeing halos around lit objects.

Giant cell arteritis: This occurs when the blood vessels’ inner linings swell, restricting blood flow. Symptoms include decreased vision and throbbing pain in the temples.

Get to the Root of Your Headaches

A comprehensive eye exam by a neuro-optometrist is the best way to determine whether you have visual challenges that could be causing your headaches. This eye exam checks for so much more than visual acuity; it often evaluates eye tracking and eye teaming, focusing, depth perception, oculomotor control, visual processing, peripheral awareness, and visual-vestibular integration.

If the exam shows that visual problems are at the root of your headaches, Dr. Garzon will provide a comprehensive treatment plan to strengthen your visual skills, such as neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. This can help you improve the way your eyes and brain communicate by utilizing prism lenses, and a variety of personalized eye exercises. Doing so often improves balance, coordination, and cognitive abilities, and can also reduce eye strain and alleviate (or even eliminate) vision-related headaches.

If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, visit Dr. Garzon for a thorough assessment of your symptoms, and to determine whether they’re being caused by visual problems. If so, we’ll offer treatment to alleviate your pain. We’re here to look out for your vision.

Vision Therapy Center at Clarity Optometry serves patients from Hamilton, Ancaster, The Greater Hamiton Area, , and throughout Ontario.

References:

 

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 905-692-EYES

Does Your Head Hurt? You Might Have Binocular Vision Dysfunction

headache womanHave you been struggling with headaches or migraines with little to no relief? If so, you might be suffering from binocular vision dysfunction (BVD).

A standard eye exam generally won’t identify BVD. That’s why it’s important to consult a neuro-optometrist if you’re experiencing headaches or migraines.

What is Binocular Vision Dysfunction?

Binocular vision dysfunction is a condition where your eyes are misaligned, leading the eye muscles to strain to transmit one clear image to your brain. This can result in head pain, migraines and several other symptoms. If the problem is BVD, a neuro-optometrist can diagnose the condition and provide effective treatment.

Common Symptoms of Binocular Vision Dysfunction

People with BVD typically experience some of these symptoms:

  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Double vision
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Reduced attention span and concentration difficulties
  • Shadowed, overlapping or blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Motion sickness
  • Poor depth perception
  • Neck, upper back or shoulder pain

If BVD is the cause of your symptoms, specialized prismatic optical lenses that allow the eyes to regain their alignment can usually provide prompt relief.

Learning Disabilities and Reading Symptoms

Having even slightly misaligned eyes can also disrupt learning and reading.

Binocular vision dysfunction can tire your eyes while reading. Words may blend together, and you may skip lines or lose your place while reading.

A routine eye exam isn’t geared toward diagnosing BVD, so if your child complains of headaches and is struggling with schoolwork, get them assessed by your neuro-optometrist today.

Treatment for Your Headaches and Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Unlike standard eyeglasses, BVD lenses are specialized aligning lenses that allow your eyes to work together. Once your eyes are working together, the brain will receive one clear image. Your eye muscles will then be able to relax and release the tension that can cause headaches and migraines. Your eye doctor can play a significant role in treating these symptoms.

If you suffer from headaches, you may have BVD or another vision problem. Schedule a vision evaluation at Vision Therapy Center at Clarity Optometry as soon as possible. The earlier a vision problem is detected, the sooner you can receive a comprehensive treatment plan to achieve clearer and more comfortable vision.

Vision Therapy Center at Clarity Optometry serves patients from Hamilton, Ancaster, The Greater Hamiton Area, , and throughout Ontario.

 

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 905-692-EYES

TBIs Can Be Caused by Even the Mildest of Head Injuries

TBIs Can Be Caused by Even the Mildest of Head InjuriesTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain. Most are caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head. Even a mild TBI, such as a mild concussion, can interfere with the healthy functioning of the brain’s visual pathways, causing a disruption in the way the brain and eyes communicate and a host of visual dysfunctions.

In fact, studies show that 90% of TBI patients experience some form of vision disruption, which may result in long-term, life-altering consequences, such as blurred vision, visual field loss, reading problems, among others. They may also cause the person to be identified as dyslexic or having attention deficit disorder (ADD), and may present as spatial dysfunctions affecting posture and balance.

Most brain injuries are caused by motor accidents, blasts due to explosions, falls, physical abuse, or sports-related injuries. It’s often difficult to assess the severity of the impact an injury can have on the brain, as minor head injuries may at times cause abundant cranial bleeding, while major injuries may not bleed at all. Though the initial incident may be very painful, most of the symptoms of TBI may appear sometime after the injury and not at the time of initial impact.

TBIs and related visual symptoms must be taken seriously. If you sustained even a mild head injury but feel like you have a reason for concern, consult Dr. Garzon, who will assess your vision and help determine the right course of treatment for your condition to prevent potential long-term damage.

How Common Are TBIs?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 13.5 million individuals live with a disability caused by traumatic brain injury in the U.S. alone. Approximately 47% of traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls, particularly among young children, young men, and men and women over age 65. Fortunately, most TBIs (commonly called concussions), are mild.

How Does a TBI Affect Vision?

Since more areas of the brain are used to process vision than any other system, traumatic brain injuries often cause visual problems. Such injuries can disrupt the communication between the brain and the visual system and interfere with the processing of visual information, leading to blurred vision, reading difficulties, sensitivity to light, and double vision, among other symptoms.

Visual problems tend to be overlooked during the initial treatment of brain injury, especially with mild TBIs such as a concussion or whiplash. Furthermore, a regular eye exam often fails to reveal the extent to which the visual process has been affected since the vision complications that develop are not related to visual acuity (20/20), but rather to eye teaming, focusing, and tracking.

If you are experiencing post-concussion visual symptoms, there is always the risk that they will worsen over time. Some patients notice visual problems only while experiencing an additional stressor such as illness, family or work stress, or when there is a disruption to normal routines.

A Neuro-Optometric Assessment with Dr. Garzon can determine both the severity of the impact of a TBI on your visual system, and the treatment required for your recovery.

What Treatment Can a Neuro-Optometrist Offer?

If you’ve sustained a TBI, Dr. Garzon offers Neuro-Optometric Vision Rehabilitation, an individualized treatment regimen to rehabilitate the connection between the brain and the eyes and the visual system. This therapy can minimize or even eliminate TBI-related visual symptoms weeks, months, or even years after the injury.


Contact Vision Therapy Center at Clarity Optometry if you have any questions, or to schedule a Neuro-Optometric Assessment. We serve patients from Hamilton, Ancaster, The Greater Hamiton Area, and , all throughout Ontario.

References:

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 905-692-EYES

Eye Care in Ontario is At Risk. Take Action. -Ontario Association of Optometrists

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To our valued patients:

We are open to serve you!

We are now available for routine eye exams and dispensing of glasses and contact lenses. As per Ministry of Health guidelines we are practicing ongoing disinfection routines, physical distancing and our Team members will be wearing face masks/shields at all times. Our patient and staff safety is our utmost priority.

Thank you for your patience over the past few months. See you soon!

The Team at Clarity Optometry