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Conditions That Are Treated With Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation

Our skilled and experienced neuro-optometric team helps patients recover from a wide range of visual dysfunctions that are due to neurological insults or conditions. Here, you’ll find some examples of the conditions that we treat on a daily basis in our practice.

Please contact us to learn more about what we offer and to find out of neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can benefit you.

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The Research and Evidence Behind Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy

Patients who have experienced a brain injury or other neurological insult often suffer from debilitating visual symptoms that make it difficult or even impossible for them to read, drive, and, in some instances, even walk without assistance. Research has shown that neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a safe and effective way to help these patients regain function.

Below, we briefly explain what neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is and why it’s a respected and well-founded avenue of treatment.

What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Neuro-optometry is a subspecialty of optometry that helps patients with neurological dysfunctions regain several of the visual and oculomotor skills needed for daily living. The goal of neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is to increase a patient’s independent functioning in a multisensory environment.

A neuro-optometrist is trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of visual and perceptual disorders, including but not limited to:

  • Double vision
  • Acquired strabismus
  • Binocular vision dysfunction
  • Convergence or accommodation problems
  • Visual perception deficits
  • Nystagmus
  • Traumatic visual acuity loss

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is suitable for patients of all ages who’ve survived a stroke, have a systemic neurological condition, or sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) of any degree.

Research Supporting the Effectiveness of Neuro-Optometry

Organizations like the American Optometric Association, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association all provide helpful information about the benefits of neuro-optometry.

Medical professionals of other specialties also recognize the importance of neuro-optometric rehabilitation and regularly refer patients for treatment. This is due to well-documented positive outcomes that patients experience after undergoing a personalized neuro-optometric rehabilitation program. Below are a few examples.

  • A small-scale study published in the Journal of Optometry (2018) found that 100% of the participants experienced improved eye movement following nearly 10 hours of neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.
  • A 2019 study published in the journal Disability and Rehabilitation examined the medical records of more than 3,000 patients who sustained a mild brain injury and underwent neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. The researchers concluded that this form of visual rehabilitation is a ‘promising intervention’ and that all patients who suffer from a brain injury should have their vision evaluated by a neuro-optometrist or other vision professional.
  • In 2017, the Journal of the American Academy of Optometry published a study concluding that visual rehabilitation for post-concussion patients was successful in the vast majority of the 218 cases examined. Some visual problems that were addressed included convergence insufficiency, accommodative insufficiency, oculomotor problems, eye movement problems and binocular problems.
  • Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can also benefit post-TBI patients who have reading-related visual dysfunction. A 2014 study by the journal NeuroRehabilitation found that after just 6 weeks of treatment, patients with mild TBIs had an improved reading rate and a decrease in visual symptoms.
  • The journal Acquired Brain Injury (2019) published an article that thoroughly explains the importance of neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy for patients who have visual symptoms related to TBI’s, autoimmune disease, viral infections and vestibular dysfunctions.

If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury or has any neurological condition that impacts vision and ability to function, a neuro-optometrist may be able to help. Some patients are referred to a neuro-optometrist as a last resort after seeing little to no results from other forms of therapy.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy should be a first stop and not a last resort. To schedule a functional visual evaluation, call The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision today.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.

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Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation — FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman

 

Q: What is Neuro-Optometry?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a customized treatment regimen for people with visual deficits resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI), physical disabilities or other neurological conditions, such as a stroke, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. It addresses problems related to eye teaming, tracking, and focusing that can make it difficult to read and complete tasks.

Q: How Does Neuro-Optometry Help?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation helps patients recover their vision by performing therapeutic activities specifically designed to retrain the neural processes of the brain. By using specific eye-training exercises, one can rewire the brain (neuroplasticity) and thus improve eye function. Treatments typically include specialized glasses and/or in-office and at-home neuro-rehabilitation exercises aimed at diminishing symptoms and promoting visual recovery. The exercises are uniquely designed to improve balance, gait, visual information processing, cognitive skills, visual memory, motor skills, and more. Just as with other rehabilitation methods, the earlier one begins the treatment regimen, the higher the chance of recovery and sight improvement.

Q: What’s the Difference Between Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation and Vision Therapy?

  • A: Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation focuses on providing a personalized treatment regimen for those who have visual deficits caused by physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological insults. Neuro-optometry makes use of therapeutic prisms, lenses, filters, and specific vision therapy techniques to reteach the damaged parts of the brain to function better.Vision Therapy is a subcategory of neuro-optometry; both describe the therapy process related to improving reduced vision skills. The fundamental difference is that neuro-optometric rehabilitation typically tackles issues that arise from a traumatic event, disease or other episode, while vision therapy addresses problems that are developmental in nature, such as dyslexia.

Q: Which Visual Problems Can a Neuro-Optometrist Treat?

  • A: – Double vision
    – Tracking and scanning problems
    – Inability to sustain fixation or focus
    – Loss of central vision
    – Strabismus (eye turn)
    – Convergence Insufficiency
    – Visual field loss
    – Visual neglect (lack of response to stimuli in one half of one’s visual field)

Q: How Can Brain Injury Affect Vision?

  • A: Brain injury can lead to:
    – Eyestrain
    – Reading and attention difficulties
    – Dizziness or nausea
    – Spatial disorientation
    – Bumping into objects when walking
    – Difficulty walking or maintaining posture: leaning back, forward, or to one side when walking, standing or seated in a chair
    – Having the perception that the floor is titled
    – Poor depth perception

Q: Neuro-Optometrist vs. Neuro-Ophthalmologist — What’s the Difference?

  • A: Neuro-Optometrists are trained to diagnose and treat neurological conditions that negatively impact the visual system. They help patients rehabilitate their vision with specific optical lenses and eye-training exercises that rewire the brain.
    Neuro-Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who sub-specialize in neurology and ophthalmology. These doctors focus on the medical or surgical options to treat any disease or pathological conditions of the nervous system, such as vision loss following a brain injury caused by trauma, stroke, tumors, inflammation, or infection. These conditions include — but are not limited to — optic nerve swelling or tumors compressing visual pathways.

Q: If I Need Vision Rehabilitation, Why Must I Work With Other Specialists?

  • A: Generally, a single type of rehabilitation isn’t sufficient to address neurological dysfunction. An interdisciplinary team made up of optometrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists (among others), provides the most effective rehabilitation for patients having experienced a concussion, stroke or other neurological deficits.

Q: Do Visual Problems Manifest Right After a Brain Injury?

  • A: Visual aberrations following a brain injury tend to be overlooked during the initial treatment, as the patient may have serious, life-threatening issues that require urgent medical attention. Furthermore, symptoms may not even present themselves until some time has passed following the injury. The earlier you see a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Optometrist, the better.Early diagnosis leads to more efficient treatment.

Q: Who Is Neuro-Optometry For?

  • A: Neuro-optometry helps those with:
    – Head and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
    – Concussion
    – Cerebral vascular accidents (CVA)
    – Cerebral palsy (CP)
    – Parkinson’s disease
    – Autism
    – Multiple sclerosis
    – Diabetic neuropathy

Q: How Long Is the Vision Rehabilitation Process?

  • A: Certain rehabilitation programs may last weeks or months, whereas others may last years — all depending on the severity of the injury and the consequent visual impact.

Q: Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Covered by Insurance?

  • A: It depends on your insurance plan. Call The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision to get more clarity on your insurance provider’s terms and conditions. Our knowledgeable staff is experienced in working with insurance providers, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your benefits.

Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation in Joplin, Missouri. Visit The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision for a consultation today.


Contact The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision if you have any further questions, or to schedule a Neuro-Optometric Vision Evaluation.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities. .

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Call Us 417-238-0229
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Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation

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Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation

The statistics on TBIs are quite startling. Over 2.8 million Americans suffer a form of traumatic injury each year, which is close to 1 in 100. Traumatic brain injury causes damage to the brain, resulting in headaches, confusion, poor concentration, and vision dysfunctions, among other problems. Fortunately, vision rehabilitation treatment, as part of an integrated team approach, can effectively help in the rehabilitation of patients with traumatic brain injuries.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden injury damages your brain. There are two types of TBI: a closed head injury that doesn’t break through the skull (yet may still cause brain damage), and a penetrating head injury, which causes the skull to break.

Approximately 47% of traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls, particularly among young children and those over 65 years of age. Other TBI injuries can result from blunt force trauma (15%), car accidents (14%), and violent physical assaults (9%).

The symptoms experienced following a TBI include headaches, confusion, dizziness, convulsions, poor concentration, memory issues, and personality changes. Because more areas of the brain are used to process vision than any other system, traumatic brain injuries can often result in vision problems.

In order to recover from a TBI, one needs to undergo rehabilitation, which can come in many forms — depending on your specific case and requirements. It may include physical, occupational, and speech therapy, as well as neurological, and psychiatric care. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation, however, is one of the most effective ways to resolve a range of traumatic brain injury vision problems.

Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injuries

kissing wifeDuring its acute stage, moderately to severely injured TBI patients will typically be treated and cared for in the intensive care unit of a hospital. As your needs and abilities change, so will the rehab program. Rehabilitation can take place in various settings, such as inpatient or outpatient rehab hospitals, home-based rehab, day programs, and independent living centers.

What Does Rehabilitation Resemble Following Brain Injury?

Everybody’s needs and functions vary following a brain injury, and each rehab program is designed to match the patient’s unique needs and goals. The program generally includes a case coordinator and several healthcare providers.

The treatments below are offered based on your functions and abilities, such as visual skills, speech ability, mental and behavioral state, language comprehension, among others.

  • Physical therapy
  • Physical medicine
  • Occupational therapy
  • Neuro-optometric rehabilitation
  • Psychiatric and psychological care
  • Speech and language therapy

How Does TBI Affect Vision?

Studies indicate that 90 % of TBI patients experience some form of vision disruption, which is caused by interrupting communication between the eyes and the brain.

Symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eyestrain
  • Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Reading difficulties
  • Visual periphery defects
  • Color contrast issues
  • Vestibular dysfunction
  • Decreased visual acuity

These visual aberrations may affect professional, educational and other aspects of daily living.

Unfortunately, TBI-related vision problems may often be overlooked during the initial brain injury treatment as visual disruptions may not be present until some time has passed following the accident.

holding handsHow Can an Optometrist Help in the Recovery of a TBI?

Optometrists, who typically work as part of an interdisciplinary team, play a crucial role in treating patients with TBI. Neuro- optometric rehabilitation optometrists (neuro-optometrists) assess and treat TBI-related visual disorders that impact the patient’s rehabilitative progress and quality of life.

At The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision, we see a variety of patients who have had TBI, whether due to a sports injury, motor vehicle accident, or fall, with visual problems range in complexity and severity. By staying on top of the most recent research, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman can properly tailor a treatment plan to the patient’s unique needs for maximum results.

Two Types of Eye Doctors Specialize in the Detection and Treatment of TBI

Neuro-optometrists

A neuro-optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry (OD) who is highly trained in diagnosing and treating neurological conditions that impact the visual system. The treatment of TBI by a neuro-optometrist is called neuro-optometric rehabilitation (also known as vision rehabilitation).

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation should not be confused with vision therapy, as not all doctors who offer vision therapy are trained in neuro-optometric rehabilitation.

Neuro-ophthalmologist

A neuro-ophthalmologist is a medically trained eye doctor ( MD) who specializes in vision problems relating to the nervous system — such as TBI-related visual acuity loss.

Both neuro-optometrists, such as Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman, and neuro-ophthalmologists can identify TBI-related vision problems. Depending on the type and severity of problems detected, they will develop a treatment plan uniquely designed to eliminate post-TBI vision symptoms and difficulties. Treatments typically include specialized glasses to help with visual processing or in-office and at-home neuro-rehabilitation procedures to reduce symptoms and promote visual recovery.

It is important to note that a single type of vision rehabilitation treatment is often not enough to address all the patient’s needs. That is why an interdisciplinary, integrated team approach can play a vital role in the rehabilitation of patients with traumatic brain injuries.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation for Brain Injuries

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation is a personalized treatment regimen for those with visual deficits resulting from traumatic brain injuries, physical disabilities or other neurological issues. The vision complications that develop following a TBI are not related to visual acuity (20/20) but rather to eye teaming, focusing, and tracking. This can result in difficulties in reading and playing sports.

The goal of neuro-optometric rehabilitation is to retrain the visual system and eliminate the visual symptoms that arise from a traumatic brain injury. Fortunately, by using specific eye-training exercises, one can rewire the brain to improve eye function. Just as with other rehabilitation methods, the earlier one starts the eye exercises following a TBI, the better the chance of recovery and sight improvement.

We will use a variety of tools and exercises to train aspects of the visual system in order to improve vision accuracy. The functional skills the doctor will work on will include eye tracking, focusing, and eye teaming, as well as visual discrimination (the ability to discern b’s and d’s), handwriting, and spatial awareness. During the course of the treatment, the patient will be assigned a series of home exercises with specialized equipment. Follow-ups will be regularly scheduled by the optometrist to assess progress.

Should Everyone With a Brain Injury See An Eye Doctor?

If you experience a traumatic brain injury, make sure to see a neuro-optometrist who has special training in TBI-related visual aberrations. This is all the more necessary if you experience any changes in your vision following head trauma.

Children With Traumatic Brain Injury

Though the symptoms of TBI in children resemble those experienced by adults, the functional impact can be very different. Because the brain of a child is in development, a brain injury can result in cognitive impairments. Though not always apparent following the injury, it may manifest itself as the child gets older. Your child may face physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges which can result in struggles for children, their families, schools, and communities.

Therefore, once the child is stabilized following a brain injury, the patient should receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, optometric and neuropsychological testing. Rehabilitation will teach the child how to compensate for impaired or lost functions and will provide strategies on ways to optimize the use of these abilities as they return.

The caring and knowledgeable staff at The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision are always here to help patients experience the best vision care and treatment possible.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 417-238-0229
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