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How Vision and the Brain Work Together

How Vision and the Brain Work Together 640There’s more to a healthy vision than meets the eye. While it’s true that functional visual skills depend on healthy eyes, a healthy brain is equally important. The human visual system has three components: the eyes, the visual cortex, and the connecting pathways between the two. When communication between the eyes and brain is disrupted, such as after a brain injury or stroke, the patient is often left with visual symptoms that can interfere with day-to-day tasks. Even the mildest forms of TBI, where there is no concussion, can harm this communication. That’s where neuro-optometry comes into play.

What Is Neuro-Optometry?

Neuro-optometry treats vision-related symptoms at their source — the brain. By strengthening the eye-brain connection, neuro-optometrists can treat a multitude of symptoms and conditions caused by neurological diseases, congenital or metabolic conditions, and trauma. 

Services offered by neuro-optometrists include: 

  • Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy
  • Visual processing assessments 
  • Extensive functional visual evaluations
  • Eye health examinations

A functional visual evaluation with Dr. John Dovie and Dr. Adrianna Hempelmann will assess: 

  • How well the eyes work together
  • Eye-tracking 
  • Visual memory
  • How vision is integrated with balance and coordination
  • Ability to focus and aim

Who Could Benefit From Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Brain injuries and other neurological conditions can affect multiple parts of the body, so patients and physicians may overlook problems in the visual system due to more pressing concerns. This is why a consultation with a neuro-optometrist is crucial. 

Patients with any of the following conditions are urged to visit a neuro-optometrist for a complete evaluation: 

  • Traumatic brain injury - (even a minor concussion)
  • Stroke
  • Chronic brain inflammation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Balance and mobility issues
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Any condition that affects the nervous system
  • Post traumatic vision syndrome 
  • Light sensitivity
  • Visual midline shift syndrome
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Autism

The above conditions can impair any of the following visual skills:

  • Eye-tracking
  • Eye teaming
  • Eye movement 
  • Visual perceptual 
  • Focusing 

Individuals who experience the following visual symptoms may also benefit from a consultation with a neuro-optometrist:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Reduced cognitive abilities related to visual tasks

Treatment typically involves specialized lenses and/or in-office neuro-optometric rehabilitation exercises that are tailored to each patient’s visual needs. Just as with other forms of therapy, an interdisciplinary approach, with cooperation from other health-care providers, is often required to facilitate a complete recovery from a neurological event. 

Feel free to contact us with any further questions you may have. The Vision Therapy Center at Blacksburg Eye Associates serves patients from Blacksburg, Radford, Christiansburg, New River Valley, and throughout Blacksburg.