Your Guide to Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome

Most people are familiar with the term post traumatic stress syndrome and the effects it can have on  a person. However, there is another term that is important to understand and that is post traumatic vision syndrome (PTVS). With almost 3 million traumatic brain injuries occuring every year in the United States, and with the numbers on the rise, it is important to understand these issues. Especially given that approximately ninety percent of traumatic brain injuries result in some sort of vision issue.

Your Guide to Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

What is it?

Post traumatic vision syndrome is the result of damage to the portions of the brain involved in the vision system. This damage causes disruptions in the function of that system, damage to the important link between the eye and the brain. Due to the nature of this damage, it is more likely than other brain damage suffered as a result of trauma to be missed during initial treatment. Post traumatic vision syndrome in particular encompases specific problems such as oculomotor dysfunction, binocular dysfunction, egocentric visual midline shift, among others.

Types of traumatic brain injuries which may lead to vision problems include falls, sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, physical violence, and strokes. Even brain injuries which most people might not consider “traumatic” or relatively minor, like a concussion, have a high chance of causing a vision problem.


What Symptoms Might I Experience From Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome?

There are a wide range of vision issues you might notice if you are suffering from post traumatic vision syndrome. These include:

Blurry vision: This can be due to damage to the eyes themselves or their ability to effectively relay received information to the brain.

Double vision: If the eyes are not working together, you may start seeing what each eye sees individually (as opposed to the brain properly combining the two images), leading to double vision.

Light or glare sensitivity: If the vision system is damaged, the brain-eye connection may have reduced ability to process incoming stimuli, leading to increased sensitivity in situations where there is more light.

Headaches: The headaches caused by PTVS are often associated with things like screens, reading, and any other environment with high levels of visual stimuli. 

What Symptoms Might I Experience From Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome?

Eye strain or fatigue: If the vision system is not functioning properly, there will be more effort required in order to see, which causes eye strain and fatigue. Eye pain is also a possible symptom.

Difficulty reading: Problems with eye tracking and their ability to work together properly can make reading at all difficult, both in terms of simply seeing and processing what is on the page, and also regarding how much effort it takes (which can lead to fatigue.) PTVS can also lead to decreased reading comprehension, as the brain is not able to properly process the information received via the eyes (even if the eyes are working fine on their own.

Dizziness or vertigo: The vision system plays an important part in the body’s ability to properly coordinate movement and maintain balance. PTVS can cause the vision system to feed useless information into the process, which impedes function and leads to a lack of balance. If other damage from the injury is also hampering the eyes’ ability to focus, it can exacerbate this problem.

In a broader sense, post traumatic vision syndrome can impact one or more areas of vision function, hampering your ability to not only see clearly, but focus on and comprehend things you see.

How is Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome Treated?

Post traumatic vision syndrome can be treated through neuro-optometric rehabilitation. Treatment may also include specialized prescription lenses, prism lenses, along with neuro-rehabilitation therapy or vision therapy.

What is the Treatment Process?

The first step will be taking a comprehensive eye exam, which (unlike typical vision tests) will examine the health of the entire vision system. If you suspect you are dealing with post traumatic vision syndrome, you can mention it to the doctor and they will know to focus on those areas of the exam. Following the exam and diagnosis, your eye care professional will formulate a personalized treatment plan for your unique situation.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

Length of treatment will vary on a case-by-case basis, and can range from just a few weeks to over a year. Also depending on the severity of the injuries, the degree of success in correcting the problem can vary as well.

What Symptoms Might I Experience From Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome?
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


Post traumatic vision syndrome is the term used to refer to vision problems sustained following traumatic brain injuries. This can include a wide variety of symptoms, and while they might not be too severe at first, if not treated, these problems can become much worse over time and become harder to correct. Neuro optometric rehabilitation is an effective treatment option. If you suspect you are suffering from vision problems stemming from a traumatic brain injury, contact us to Book an Appointment .

Related Articles


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
1 2 3



Macular degeneration: separating fact from fiction- myths and misconceptions

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in older adults in the United States. Approximately 20 million adults in […]

Read More

Alleviating Eye Strain from Digital Devices: Tips and Exercises for Relief

As we spend more and more time in front of computer screens and cell phones, it's important to be aware […]

Read More

Beyond LASIK: Discovering New Vision Correction Techniques

According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), there were approximately 1.8 million LASIK procedures performed in […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

American Family Vision Clinic Logo

Working Hours




400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 459-1097
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram