Purpose: To determine the frequency and types of vision disorders associated with concussion, and to determine the success rate of vision therapy for these conditions in two private practice settings.
Methods: All records over an 18-month period of patients referred for post-concussion vision problems were reviewed from two private practices. Diagnoses of vergence, accommodative, or eye movement disorders were based on pre-established, clinical criteria. Vision therapy was recommended based on clinical findings and symptoms.
Results: Two hundred eighteen patient records were found with a diagnosis of concussion. Fifty-six percent of the concussions were related to sports, 20% to automobile accidents, and 24% to school, work, or home-related incidents. The mean age was 20.5 years and 58% were female. Eighty-two percent of the patients had a diagnosis of an oculomotor problem [binocular problems (62%), accommodative problems (54%), eye movement problems (21%)]. The most prevalent diagnoses were convergence insufficiency (CI, 47%) and accommodative insufficiency (AI, 42%). Vision therapy was recommended for 80% of the patients. Forty-six per cent (80/175) either did not pursue treatment or did not complete treatment. Of the 54% (95/175) who completed therapy, 85% of patients with CI were successful and 15% were improved, and with AI, 33% were successful and 67% improved. Clinically and statistically significant changes were measured in symptoms, near point of convergence, positive fusional vergence, and accommodative amplitude.
Conclusions: In this case series, post-concussion vision problems were prevalent and CI and AI were the most common diagnoses. Vision therapy had a successful or improved outcome in the vast majority of cases that completed treatment. Evaluation of patients with a history of concussion should include testing of vergence, accommodative, and eye movement function. Prospective clinical trials are necessary to assess the natural history of concussion-related vision disorders and treatment effectiveness.