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J Rehabil Med. 2017 Apr 6;49(4):327-332. doi: 10.2340/16501977-2218.

Visual dysfunction is underestimated in patients with acquired brain injury.

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Dep. of Rehabilitation medicin, Dep of Clinical Sciences, Danderyd Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, 182 88 Stockholm, Sweden.,



More than 50% of human cerebral activity is related to vision. Visual impairments are therefore common after acquired brain injury, although they are often overlooked. In order to evaluate the prevalence of visual deficits in our Out-patient Brain Injury Program, a structured screening questionnaire, the Visual Interview, was administered.


A total of 170 patients with acquired brain injury, mean age 47 years, who were enrolled in the programme during 2010-12, underwent the Visual Interview. The interview consists of 18 questions concerning visual impairment and was performed on admission. The different types of visual impairment were compared with regard to sex and diagnosis.


Fifty-four percent of the patients reported visual changes, mainly reading difficulties, photosensitivity, blurred vision and disorders of the visual field. Sixteen patients who did not experience visual changes also reported visual symptoms in 4-9 questions. Only slight differences were noted in the occurrence of visual symptoms when correlated with sex or diagnosis.


Visual impairments are common after acquired brain injury, but some patients do not define their problems as vision-related. A structured questionnaire, covering the most common visual symptoms, is helpful for the rehabilitation team to facilitate assessment of visual changes.

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