My Way to Recovery from TBI
Vision Therapy…….the key to my recovery!
I wanted to express first and foremost my gratitude for the therapy I have received from Dr Angela Dobson at Vision Sense. She is most professional and knowledgeable in her field and I am grateful I found her.
History of my Injury
I was in a rear end car accident July 1, 2013. Left with a TBI, whiplash and upper back issues.
With these issues I had many symptoms which are related to the TBI/concussion too numerous to mention but my vision/balance I feel were most affected.
I have had issues with balance, dizziness, daily migraine type headaches, double vision, blurred vision, the feeling of not being grounded because I did not feel where I was in space normally, BPPV, Tinnitus, twitching.
Reading has been so hard for me . I would skip sentences , reading pages twice because nothing going in and double vision. My focus and concentration was always off. In fact I was not able to read more than a couple pages for a good 3 years because it was so overwhelming to my eyes and brain. I just could not do it. NOW I can! Thanks Angela.
Things like grocery shopping was overwhelming, sensitive to the lights, noise, being in the aisles was too much for me to process , too much stimulation. Walking I was always staggering.I was almost hit on three occasions by cars and in two of those occasions it was because my peripheral vision was compromised in the accident. I just did not see the cars until they were a few inches away from me.
Convergence issues, tracking issues, eyes not working together, depth perception and my binocular vision were all off.
My Observations of Vision Therapy and to where I am today:
I would have to say that as I know now my TBI/vision and balance would have to be at the top of the list for my injuries from my accident. In fact they were the cause of most all of them.
Since my accident I have received many therapies seen many specialists. Some helped but no one was really getting to the cause of my main issues or symptoms.
I saw concussion specialist Dr Linda Ferguson, Truro in June 2014 it is here where I found hope of getting better. She is the one who directed me to my need to see someone like Dr Angela Dobson for prisms and later vision therapy as she indicated in her prognosis.
I wanted to note first I had my eyes tested in January 2014 by another Optometrist and got new prescription for my glasses but there was no mention of my convergence issues. The glasses never seemed right to me when I wore them. Which today makes sense to me as I needed the prisms and vision therapy.
This is where my story or long road to recovery really began .
Dealing with the insurance company and being my own advocate to get to the right therapy was challenging. Making them understand that prism and vision therapy was as they say “medically necessary” was very hard.
My observation is that some health providers just do not get what PCS and TBI are all about. If they do not specialize in the field of concussions and how vision can be effected then they cannot help.
The brain and eye connection go hand in hand. After a brain injury I do know now it is possible to retrain the part of the brain that controls vision and get back to what it was.
After now 40 vision therapy sessions I now understand that you must work hard at the exercises to retrain your brain or find the new paths . I learned that it must be done in a specific order to restore the vision processes that are normal.
There is no two TBI’s alike as there are no two vision issues alike.
Vision therapy with a Developmental and Behavioral Optometrist is imperative, needed and necessary for so many cases such as mine.
I have learned a lot through this process. That vision problems after a concussion are very common but many people are not as fortunate as me to have found Dr Angela Dobson and get the treatment plan needed for recovery. i.e. vision therapy.
My Treatment Plan
I have also learned that the specialized treatment plan I have gone through was the key to my recovery. I have benefited greatly and am so thankful for that.
If the other health providers associated with vision problems could see hands on what a patient who is going through vision therapy experiences it would help them understand. It would be so beneficial for their patients who may be going through what I have gone through.
One must go through the therapy sessions with the guidance and expertise of someone like Dr Angela Dobson to benefit and restore their vision to where it was before the TBI.
For me I started with eye exercises which taught me to use my eyes free of the body through the full range of possible movements, to tracking exercises, to exercises to learn to control the focusing of my eyes from far and near and back again without losing your place. Further exercises were to combine movement in central space and peripheral space. Although these were just a few of the exercises that in the beginning weeks were done in order for me to get to where I am at today. Some were very hard on me and would overwhelm me but with consistent hard work they became less so over time.
For example the Brock String exercise I have been doing now for about two months. The purpose is to give me feedback as to whether both of my eyes are turned on and pointed to the same place in space and whether perception of where a target is matches its real location.
This makes me more familiar with how it feels to converge and diverge so that I have conscious control of that process.
This same exercise I was given way back in my first year before I even diagnosed with my visual issues.
I attended Balance and Dizzy Rehabilitation therapy. I could not do it then because my eyes could not focus, converge, diverge or any of the other things I needed to be able to do it. Now I can because I have gone through the treatment plan from Dr Angela Dobson that addressed my issues. My Vision therapy provided the tools or exercises in a specific order to get me to where I am today.
The patient must work at the exercises, be patient and never give up. Vision therapy does work.
I am proof of that 100%.
Concussions and TBI are finally starting to be understood more and all the issues that can come with them. Vision issues is one of them and vision therapy is key to the recovery.
Vision Sense and Dr Angela Dobson have made it possible for me to read again, comprehend and see properly. I can walk straight now and only have minimal headaches. I know vision therapy and my prisms are what got me to where I am today.
I encourage all to get the required testing if my story sounds like what you are going through from a TBI.
Susan M., Bridgewater Nova Scotia