Infographic: Ocular Concussions

Infographic: Ocular Concussions

Ocular concussions, which affect the ocular (or vision) system can highlight issues with misalignment, convergence, and more. Learn more about the background of ocular concussions, common symptoms, common issues, and treatment plans, as developed by the doctors at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

The Eyes Have It

What is an ocular-motor concussion?

A concussion that affects the ocular, or visual, system of the brain.
Typically, patients with ocular-motor concussions report pressure headaches in the front of their head, feeling more tired than normal, and becoming more symptomatic doing math or science exercises at school.

Patients also experience difficulties with their eyes working together. Follow along to explore some of the most common symptoms.

Convergence

The eyes converge when viewing objects up close, such as with reading. With convergence problems, patients may see a double image as a target moves closer to them. Typically, without a concussion, objects can be brought very close without doubling.

Accommodation

Accommodation problems cause an object to become blurry as it is viewed up close. Accommodative and convergence problems are often experienced together and can impact reading and other near-vision activities.

Pursuits and Saccades

The eyes use pursuit eye movements to follow objects; while saccade eyes movements allow the eyes to shift rapidly from one object to another. Tracking objects, reading a book, scrolling on a computer or even watching for a moving car while crossing the street can be difficult when patients have problems with pursuit and saccade eye movements.

Misalignment

When people with eye misalignment (one eye drifts, eyes aren’t perfectly aligned) sustain a concussion, the brain may have difficulty compensating for the misalignment like it once did. This can result in blurry vision, difficulty taking notes in class and focusing on the chalkboard.

Treatment

Experts at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program partner with neuro-optometrists to treat ocular-motor problems in concussion patients. Vision and/or vestibular therapy to improve visual performance may be recommended.