Vision and Vestibular Deficits Predict Prolonged Recovery From Concussion
A recent systemic review of the literature, just published in the Journal of Athletic Training, 2024; 59(1): 49-64, concludes that “vestibular and oculomotor screening are prognostic of time to recovery” from concussion.
Positive findings on these assessments “consistently predict longer recovery.” The authors therefore recommend that vestibular and ocular motor screening be part of the standard of care for assessment of concussion patients. Read the full study.
Symptoms of oculomotor (related to the motion of the eye) and vestibular (related to the inner ear and sense of balance) dysfunction include
- balance issues
- blurred vision
- double vision
- light sensitivity and
- visual tracking issues such as deficits in smooth pursuit, saccades, convergence, and accommodation.
Effective tools exist to assess these issues. Sometimes patient simply report fatigue or headaches from reading or growing fatigue as the day progresses, which can be a byproduct of these underlying deficits.
Assessing these issues not only helps to predict prognosis, it can also create a better roadmap for rehabilitation, as discussed in prior posts in this blog.