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.

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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. Ikeda 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 .


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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