VISION THERAPY AND ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY

The eye is amazing. Did you know more than 1.9 million fibers come from the eye into the brain? Each of those fibers creates its own pathway to the brain and has its own distinct function. So when someone has a stroke or other acquired brain injury (ABI), vision is often affected.  ABIs include concussions suffered in severe sports-related hits or a car accident, as well as cerebral or vascular strokes. An ABI can affect both neurological pathways in the eye, the focal or parvocellular pathway, which is....

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SYNTONICS: CREATING BALANCE FOR THE EYES

Syntonics, or optometric phototherapy, is a form of light therapy used to treat a variety of vision problems. It is available at Family Eyecare Associates to help patients with a variety of vision problems, such as strabismus (eye turns), amblyopia (lazy eye), focusing and convergence problems and learning disorders. It has also been shown to be very effective for people who suffer from migraines.

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WHAT IS BEHAVIORAL OPTOMETRY?

Behavioral optometry starts with the concept that vision is learned. When we’re born, we don’t know how to use our arms, legs and hands. We also don’t know how to use our eyes. We have to learn how to integrate them with the rest of our body. The brain must process what the eyes are seeing, and then it has to integrate that information with the other senses. From a behav- ioral standpoint, seeing requires a more holistic approach, getting all the senses to work together.

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MIGRAINES - CAN VISION THERAPY HELP?

People who suffer from migraines sometimes receive visual clues telling them one of these often-debilitating headaches is coming. Migraines can be included among conditions classified as dysautomonia. Dysautomonia occurs when the autonomic nervous system gets out of sync. It can cause major health issues, including migraine, high blood pressure and rapid pulse. The medical community agrees migraines are most likely sparked by a change in blood flow to the head area. The autonomic nervous system controls the blood vessels, making them dilate or constrict. With a migraine, the blood vessels going to the brain get smaller because of triggers such as stress, certain foods or smells.


Migraines are sorted into two primary breakdowns, classical and common. Frequently a visual aura precedes a classical migraine, but there is no aura with a common migraine. The terms are deceptive; a common migraine can be just as painful as a classical migraine.


Some of the smallest blood vessels in the body are in the back of the eye. When they constrict and become even smaller, they don’t get enough blood. Migraine sufferers may experience vision changes before, during or after the pain subsides. The constricting of the blood vessels in the eye can block vision – people with migraines often complain of vision loss or having a blind spot. They may also experience, blurry, cloudy or double vision. Some people have tunnel vision or lose their peripheral vision.

They may see halos or scintillating scotomas, often described as flickers or wavy lines. Others compare their vision changes to looking through a kaleidoscope. Many people with migraines become sensitive to light (this is called called photophobia). The flickering of overhead fluorescent lights often trigger migraine. You may glance at a fluorescent light and think it looks like a solid beam, but the light is actually going back and forth from end to end in the tube rapidly, making your pupils dilate and constrict to keep up.


There is no 100-percent effective treatment for migraine, but a new field in medicine called photobiomodulation may prove helpful. Photobiomodulation emphasizes the role of light in many different bodily functions – such as placing a jaundiced baby under a UV lamp to eliminate bilirubin its blood. Syntonics, the use of light and filters, is another viable treatment for migraine. It is a way to treat migraine without having to resort to medication that may cause an upset stomach and other problems. Very specific proprietary tints have been approved to help ease migraine pain.


One proactive thing you can do is keep a headache diary, writing down the date

and time when you have a migraine and under what conditions so you can look for patterns and possibly avoid your triggers. Using syntonics, Family Eyecare Associates can help to get your autonomic nervous system back in balance by calming the flight-or-fight response. Syntonics is perfectly harmless and non-invasive. For more information about vision therapy and how it may be able to help your migraines, contact Family Eyecare Associates at (859) 879-3665.

DR. RICK GRAEBE

Dr. Graebe received both his B.S degree in Visual Science and Doctorate of Optometry from Indiana University. He is a Behavioral Optometrist and learning expert. He has been in private practice here in the Bluegrass area for the past 32 years.

more articles by dr rick graebe