After a concussion or a head injury many people present with vision conditions related to changes in the function of their visual system. These problems can cause an entire array of symptoms such as headaches, migraines, fatigue, light sensitivity, and balance problems. See the checklist here for more details.
The nice part about checking for vision problems is that they are either their or they aren’t. If there are vision problems, then neuro-visual rehabilitation or vision therapy can be a very successful treatment resulting in reduced symptoms and improved quality of life.
Here is the letter I just received from one such patient (who worked very hard!).
A testimonial from a grateful patient.
In February 2015 I suffered a serious concussion that left me disoriented, nauseous, dizzy and exhausted. I was unable to work at my job as an editor. I went from working 12-hour days to lying on the couch with my eyes covered for weeks. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t walk without feeling like the ground was moving. I couldn’t watch TV, use my computer or read.
When the symptoms revealed themselves two weeks after hitting my head, an ER doctor told me to go home and rest for a few days and then see my doctor. My doctor then told me to rest for a few weeks. Neither offered any solutions or a timeline as to when or if I might improve. I was in a state of limbo. I worried I would never be able to return to work.
One day, in a somewhat desperate state, I found Dr. McCrodan’s name in a Google search for vision therapy. I called and spoke with Peggy, who treated me with warmth and compassion. She told Dr. McCrodan about my circumstances, and he agreed to see me within a day or two.
Dr. McCrodan ushered me into his office and spent the next 90 minutes running tests and talking to me about my symptoms. In the end, he said he could help me. He provided me two new prescriptions, devised a temporary fix to ease my dizziness and recommended a five-month vision therapy program. He was upfront and honest about the sizable cost, sharing my frustration that such a service is not covered by the B.C. medical system. But he pointed out that having to pay for the therapy often makes patients more committed to their recovery, and he was right.
I spent the next few months meeting weekly with my very knowledgable and supportive therapist, Marquessa, and working daily at home to complete the assigned exercises. Unexpectedly, I enjoyed them, from tossing a ball in the backyard with my husband to donning an eye patch, turning circles and reading an eye chart to the beat of a metronome. Each week Marquessa adjusted the homework and introduced new exercises, which kept me interested and challenged. I began to see progress, and my symptoms started to dissipate. It felt incredible to have come so far in such a short time.
Looking back, I can’t believe how fast the time went and how quickly I improved, especially after many dark days when I wondered if this dazed state would be my new reality. Today I often read without my glasses, I run, hike and do boot camps, and I binge-watch Netflix for hours on wet Sundays — all the things that were impossible for me months ago.
I am very grateful to Dr. McCrodan, Marquessa, Peggy and the staff at McCrodan Vision Development for helping me return to the good, old days and do all the things I used to take for granted. I know if I experience another concussion or a setback, I have a place and a group of people to turn to who will provide me the tools and support to recover. And that is priceless.