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TBI and Vision

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the military population may be the result of explosive devices, blast waves, shrapnel or blunt force traumas. TBIs can result in structural damage to the eye and cause lesions or swelling in the brain that may interfere with vision.1,2 Over 383,00 new cases of TBI have been reported in U.S. forces from 2000 through the first quarter of 2018.3 Data suggest that as many as 75 percent of patients experiencing a TBI may also have associated visual dysfunctions, with even more ocular injuries resulting from a blast.2 These visual dysfunctions can have a significant functional impact on the lives of Service members and Veterans and may include double vision, problems focusing, optic nerve damage, blindness and more.4,5

1 Dougherty, A. L., MacGregor, A. J., Han, P. P., Heltemes, K. J., & Galarneau, M. R. (2011). Visual dysfunction following blast-related traumatic brain injury from the battlefield. Brain Injury, 25(1), 8-13. doi:10.3109/02699052.2010.536195.

2 Stelmack, J. A., Frith, T., Van Koevering, D., Rinne, S., & Stelmack, T. R. (2009). Visual function in patients followed Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Network site: An electronic medical record review. Optometry, 80(8), 419-424.

3 Defense Medical Surveillance System and the Theater Medical Data Store (DMSS-TMDS). (2012). Prepared by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center.

4 Luu, S., Lee, A. W., Daly, A., & Chen, C. S. (2010). Visual field defects after stroke—a practical guide for GPs. Australian Family Physician, 39(6), 499-503.

5 Warren, M. (2009). Pilot study on activities of daily living limitations in adults with hemianopsia. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63(5), 626-633.