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Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation

Vision is fundamentally a function of the brain. The way we process depth, direction, speed, and color contrast all comes down to how the brain interprets the information the eyes provide.

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Traumatic brain injury such as a concussion or stroke, or diseases such as MS, cerebral palsy, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), can result in potentially devastating visual problems. There are also a number of inherited brain conditions which can similarly prevent the normal development of the visual system.

digital eye

Is a Brain Injury or Concussion Affecting
Your Vision?


The effect these have on the neuro-visual system won’t always be noticeable early on, as many health care providers and therapists lack the training and/or skills to recognize when neural-visual problems are affected by brain damage. Even when they are recognized, the treatment needs to be provided by a neuro-optometrist. An optometrist or vision therapist trained in neuro-optometric rehabilitation can effectively treat and rehabilitate the vision-related problems in those who have or are suffering from visual deficits and dysfunction resulting from brain injury or disease.

Headed by Dr. Neil Margolis and Dr. Marsha K. Sorenson, the Visual Symptoms Treatment Center provides advanced neuro-optometric rehabilitation from our clinic in Arlington Heights, Illinois. We work with patients to help them improve visual function, alleviate symptoms, and regain their quality of life. We provide neuro-optometric rehabilitation to patients from Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Northbrook, and Deerfield.

What is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation?


The brain is surprisingly elastic, meaning it can rewire and retrain itself after injury. Neuro-optometry—often lumped in with vision therapy—is a specialized field of optometry which works to actively retrain and reprogram the visual processing we rely on to properly interact and interpret the world around us. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation uses a highly-customized combination of visual exercises, specialized lenses, and targeted visual stimuli—often including of digital aids—to retrain the patient’s brain to process visual input properly.

Dr. Neil Margolis and Dr. Marsha K. Sorenson will create a treatment plan based on the individual’s vision conditions and medical background. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is an important component of the rehabilitative process and is essential to reclaiming full day-to-day vision functionality.

brain injury

General Symptoms of Vision Conditions Treated by
Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation


  • Spatial disorientation
  • Focusing problems
  • Double-vision (diplopia)
  • Blurred vision (asthenopia)
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and dizziness (vertigo)
  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue
  • Problems accurately gauging movement, direction, and speed
  • Trouble differentiating colors
  • Hand-eye coordination and motor problems

Frequently Asked Questions About Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation


Who is a Good Candidate for Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation? How Do I Get Started?


Anyone with the above symptoms or conditions should undergo a neuro-visual or vision therapy assessment.

People with motor, perceptual, or visual problems resulting from brain injury or disease can benefit from neuro-optical rehabilitation. It begins with a general eye exam to ascertain the overall health of your eyes. After reviewing any relevant medical documentation from your neurologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, etc, Dr. Neil Margolis and Dr. Marsha K. Sorenson will then perform a Neuro-Visual Assessment to pinpoint the exact visual conditions(s) present. The Visual Symptoms Treatment Center will then craft a personalized treatment plan for your recovery.

How Long Does it Take for Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation to Work?


This depends on the severity of the condition or problem. You should experience improvements fairly quickly. Don’t expect a complete turn-around overnight, however. It’s a gradual process— it takes time to retrain the brain and eyes to function in unison in the way that they should, particularly if the cause of the vision problem was severe. The full amount of time required depends on multiple factors, including the cause, the individual patient, and compliance with the regimen.

How Much Does Neuro-Optometry or Vision Therapy Cost? Is it Covered by Insurance?


most often applied to a medical policy as opposed to a vision policy). However, certain insurance companies may deny or place severe limits on coverage for vision therapy as a cost-saving measure. When sorting out the insurance details for vision therapy, it’s important to know what questions to ask of your insurance agent or workplace HR department.

If you’re considering vision therapy, let us help you understand how to ask the right questions of your insurance company to determine whether you can get coverage.

Vision Rehabilitation for Vestibular (Balance) Problems after Concussion


Vision is an integral part of the vestibular system (balance system). Patients who present with post-concussion vestibular impairment and symptoms (e.g., vertigo, impaired balance, dizziness, visual motion sensitivity, gait issues, etc.) can benefit from vision therapy that emphasizes active vestibular and vision rehabilitation exercises. Active treatment can lessen or eliminate paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and improve balance, gaze stability, eye-head coordination and gait.

References


Faul M, Xu L, Wald MM, Coronado VG. Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations and Deaths
2002–2006. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2010.

https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pdf/blue_book.pdf

Report to Congress on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Steps to Prevent a Serious Public Health Problem. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2003.

https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pdf/mtbireport-a.pdf

Ciuffreda KJ, Kapoor N, Rutner D, Suchoff IB, Han ME, Craig S. Occurrence of oculomotor dysfunctions in acquired brain injury: a retrospective analysis. Optometry 2007;78(4):155-61.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17400136

Rowe F.J. Stroke survivors’ views and experiences on impact of visual impairment. Brain and Behavior, 2017; e00778 DOI: /onlinelibrary.wiley.com
/doi/epdf/10.1002/brb3.778

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/brb3.778

Leslie S. Myopia and Accommodative Insufficiency Associated with Moderate Head Trauma, Opt Vis Dev 2009;40(1):25-31.

https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.covd.org/resource/resmgr/ovd40-1/article_myopiaaccominsuff.pdf

Cohen, Alen H. Vision rehabilitation for visual-vestibular dysfunction: The role of the neuro-optometrist, NeuroRehabilitation, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 483-492, 2013
HAN M.E. (2007) The Role of the Neuro-Rehabilitation Optometrist. In: Elbaum J., Benson D.M. (eds) Acquired Brain Injury. Springer, New York, NY

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23648603

Serving Neuro-Optometry Patients From:

Arlington Heights | Buffalo Grove | Northbrook | Deerfield | and throughout Illinois

Patients travel from all part of Illinois and beyond for the unique and specialized vision care approach provided by the doctors and staff at Visual Symptoms Treatment Center.

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