How Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Affect Your Vision

Traumatic brain injuries (which, despite the name, need not be incurred in incidents many of us would consider “traumatic”) are not altogether uncommon, and studies show that in as many as 90 percent of cases there is a vision issue following the injury.

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What Causes Vision Problems Following a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Eye Damage

When one sustains a head injury, the eye itself can be injured, and if there had previously been eye conditions present such as cataracts, these may be made worse by a head injury. If the muscles which control the eye’s lens are damaged and not functioning properly, it can be difficult to change focus between near and far objects. If the muscles which control eye movement or the nerves which control the muscles are negatively impacted, or if there is a hairline fracture in the eye socket, it can be difficult to control eye movement.

Brain Damage

Traumatic brain injuries can also, of course, lead to damage in the brain itself, impacting the “wiring” of the brain. This can negatively affect many brain functions, including vision. 

Damage to the Brain-Eye Connection

Both the eyes and the brain are part of the vision system, and even if each is working properly on its own, if the connection between them is not functioning correctly, vision problems will result. Additionally, damage to this connection can lead to decreased visual memory (the ability to remember seen items like passwords) and decreased visual field (diminished ability to see to the sides, or above and below.


Some medications a patient may receive post injury may affect vision. This can include making focusing more difficult, or dryness.


What Vision Symptoms Can Occur Following a Traumatic Brain Injury?

There are numerous potential signs of a vision problem following a traumatic brain injury. These include:

  • Eye aching or pain
  • Headaches or motion sickness
  • Lack of balance
  • Difficulty moving the eyes, especially together
  • Decreased depth perception
  • Excessive tearing 
  • Decreased visual memory
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks requiring vision
What Vision Symptoms Can Occur Following a Traumatic Brain Injury?

How Should Vision Problems From Traumatic Brain Injuries be Treated?

If you experience vision issues following a traumatic brain injury, consult with eye care professionals who specialize in treating vision issues resulting from brain injuries, such as neuro-optometrists.

Following an evaluation to get a proper sense of your condition, the neuro-optometrist will devise a personalized treatment plan for your unique situation. This can include vision therapy exercises and the use of vision aids or surgery.

The amount of time required for treatment and recovery will vary on a case by case basis.

Dr. Zurcher cartoon


Traumatic brain injuries have a high chance of causing some sort of vision issue. The precise causes and symptoms can vary, but it is important to seek proper diagnoses and treatment as soon as possible, to prevent minor problems from becoming major ones. If you are experiencing vision issues following a traumatic brain injury, contact us to Book an Appointment for an evaluation.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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