LOOK OUT FOR YOUR EYES

As you begin making your resolution to be healthier this new year, don’t leave out two of the most important parts of your body: your eyes. With the demands that are put on our eyes every day, it is essential to take care of them and even exercise them to strengthen them and possibly improve your vision.  In the past, people were hunters, farmers and gatherers. They were used to looking over far distances to seek prey and other possible sources of food. But now we live in a 2D world, where....

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SENSORY INTEGRATION IMPORTANT FOR BALANCE

What happened the last time you went on the Mad Tea Party ride at DisneyWorld? Did you enjoy yourself initially, but as the ride went on, did you start to feel sick and disoriented? When you closed your eyes, however, you probably felt much better. And you were immensely glad when the ride ended and you could get your bearings again.

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VISION THERAPY AND ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY

The eye is amazing. Did you know more than 1.9 million fibers come from the eye into the brain? Each of those fibers creates its own pathway to the brain and has its own distinct function. So when someone has a stroke or other acquired brain injury (ABI), vision is often affected.  ABIs include concussions suffered in severe sports-related hits or a car accident, as well as cerebral or vascular strokes. An ABI can affect both neurological pathways in the eye, the focal or parvocellular pathway, which....

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VISION THERAPY AND ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY

difficulty concentrating, reading and comprehending; headache; and visual field loss. You may also have trouble shifting your gaze quickly from one point to another after an ABI.


Stroke is a change in or lack of blood flow to some areas of the brain. It can also cause bleeding on the brain. Patients who have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury may lose half of their right or left side vision. This type of side vision loss is called hemianopsia. Patients who just have a hemianopsia are aware of the side vision loss and often can be easily taught to scan their eyes in the direction of the hemianopsia so they can compensate for the field loss. This helps them not miss things that are on the side of the hemianopsia.


Fortunately, the brain is quite adept at training itself how to recreate and reconnect pathways or even create new ones. No one is born knowing how to use their arms and legs, much less their eyes. Through interaction with the world, we learn to walk and talk and to point and use our eyes. Once you understand space and where things are, the brain creates neurons that will fire together and you will point, track, focus and otherwise engage your eyes subconsciously. Vision therapy or vision rehabilitation can help when ABI interferes with these vital abilities. You may be fitted with corrective lenses such as yoked prism lenses or receive light therapy or syntonic optometry. Vision therapy, as with all other types of therapy, is very personalized.

DR. RICK GRAEBE

Dr. Graebe received both his B.S degree in Visual Science and Doctorate of Optometry from Indiana University. He is a Behavioral Optometrist and learning expert. He has been in private practice here in the Bluegrass area for the past 32 years.

more articles by dr rick graebe

The eye is amazing. Did you know more than 1.9 million fibers come from the eye into the brain? Each of those fibers creates its own pathway to the brain and has its own distinct function. So when someone has a stroke or other acquired brain injury (ABI), vision is often affected.


ABIs include concussions suffered in severe sports-related hits or a car accident, as well as cerebral or vascular strokes. An ABI can affect both neurological pathways in the eye, the focal or parvocellular pathway, which is related to central vision, and the ambient or magnocellular pathway, which are those things that are in the background that you don’t focus on. The ambient pathway also encompasses peripheral vision. Simply put, the ambient vision system provides information about where you are in space and where you are looking and contributes to balance, movement, coordination and posture. In addition, it controls how well the eyes point and track. The focal system, on the other hand, provides information about what you are looking at.


With an ABI, one of the first things to go is eye-tracking ability.  This may cause the patient to have double vision or perhaps perceive printed words on a page as “swimmy” because the eyes aren’t aligned property. The patient may have trouble with spatial awareness, judging distances, catching balls or other activities that require the eyes to work together. Other symptoms of an ABI include blurred vision; light sensitivity;