Head Injury Symptoms

a Guide to Recovering from Mild Head Injury, Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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Visual Symptoms

 

Types of Visual Symptoms

 

1. Light Sensitivity

Light sensitivity, or photophobia is an intolerance of light. This

is fairly common after a minor head injury. (Bright) light will

cause discomfort, along with a need to squint or close your

eyes. Sometimes this is accompanied by headache.

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2. Visual Blurring

Typically, people complain that their vision intermittently goes "blurry" and they have to screw up their eyes to make things come back to normal. Sometimes the vision may even be double. This symptom is often due to "convergence spasm". This is when one of the eyes is too actively 'turning in' towards the nose. Convergence is a normal eye movement but sometimes it becomes hyperactive.

 

3. Visual Snow

Sometimes people become aware of a snowlike effect in their vision. This could be due to an eye or brain disorder but it can also be a normal phenomenon. If anyone looks at a bright background they may become aware of a fuzzy, 'static' with a sense that things are moving around. In some people this persists probably because of attention paid to it. Normally the brain blocks out this additional visual information. It often helps to understand what it is and that it will improve the less you pay attention to it.

 

4. Visual Persistence Phenomena

People also can become aware of persistence of visual images, especially after they have been looking at something for a while or if they are trying to follow a rapidly moving object. Like visual snow its really important to exclude a neurological or ophthlamological cause for this but it can occur, like visual snow, as a symptom arising without neurological disease. Its due to the same problem of the normal 'filtering' mechanism in the brain which blocks out the excess visual information going wrong.

Tip - A natural response to this symptom is often to wear dark glasses. The trouble with this is that this tends to make the eyes even more sensitive to light. The best approach to light sensitivity is to gradually expose the eyes to more and more light over time.