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Poorer learning after a concussion?

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Mark Eagle
07-Jul-2015
Binocular problems - Teaming & Tracking, Brain Injury, Reading problems

 

The Vision Screenings performed in schools are not designed to test for eye coordination, eye tracking, or eye focusing problems. In fact vision screenings miss at least 50% of vision problems. In addition, a general optometrists eye examination often does not thoroughly evaluate all the visual skills required for academic success. The diagnosis and treatment of convergence insufficiency is a specialty field within optometry performed by Behavioural/ Developmental Optometrists.

A cross-sectional study was performed of adolescents (ages 11 to 17 years) from the Concussion Care for Kids: Minds Matter program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with co-investigators from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Michael Gallaway, OD, FCOVD, FAAO and Mitchell M. Scheiman, OD, FCOVD. Sixty-nine percent of one hundred children examined were found to have one or more vision problems.

In an interview in Infectious Diseases in Children , a Healio publication, pediatric sports medicine specialist and associate professor of clinical pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Christina L. Master, MD, FAAP, CAQSM, discussed the study; “All these children can see 6/6, but the problem is that their eyes don’t work well together. It’s the idea of eye teaming, focusing and tracking. If you go to a regular eye doctor for a vision assessment of visual acuity, the typical tests will not detect these problems that we found associated with concussion.”

In a recent study published in the June 2015 issue of the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Academic Effects of Concussion in Children and Adolescents, it was found that those with higher severities of concussion experienced extended recovery time from symptoms that can interfere with academic performance. These post-concussion symptoms include problems with concentration, eyestrain, loss of place while reading, slower processing speed, headaches and fatigue. These symptoms are very similar to symptoms relating to binocular vision disorders.

“We have known for years that concussions cause vision problems , and these are some of the types of vision problems that developmental optometrists specialize in treating to help children get back on track with their academics after a concussion,” Dr. Heying explains; “To help parents and medical professionals in managing post-concussion children with their visual symptoms we are issuing Return to Learn: A Guide to Visual Recovery after Concussion . ”

Mark Eagle is a member of COVD;   www.covd.org

About COVD

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an international, non-profit optometric membership organization that provides education, evaluation, and board certification programs in behavioral and developmental vision care, vision therapy, and visual rehabilitation. The organization is comprised of Optometrists, Vision Therapists and other vision specialists.

A series of public service announcements (PSAs) are available at covd.org to help raise awareness that vision problems can not only interfere with learning, but sports performance, and other activities of daily living. These PSAs also address vision problems that impact individuals who have autism spectrum disorders or those who have suffered a head injury.