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Brain Inj. 1993 Sep-Oct;7(5):439-48.

Incidence and treatment of visual dysfunction in traumatic brain injury.

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Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, CA 95128.


The incidence of visual dysfunction and effectiveness of visual exercises in acute traumatically brain injured inpatients in a rehabilitation programme were studied. Vision evaluation norms were established on 23 hospital staff. The evaluation was then administered to 51 inpatients within days after admission. An additional 21 patients were unable to participate, usually due to decreased cognition or agitation. Thirty of 51 (59%) scored impaired in one or more of the following: pursuits, saccades, ocular posturing, stereopsis, extra-ocular movements, and near/far eso-exotropia. For patients having dysfunction in pursuits or saccades, a 2-week baseline was followed by vision exercises. During the baseline interval patients were evaluated by an optometrist to verify therapists' findings. Six patients who participated in several weeks of treatment were evaluated at 2-week intervals by an independent rater. Progress is graphically illustrated. Conclusions were that the suitability of an inpatient vision programme, from our experience, is questionable. However, an initial evaluation proved valuable for informing staff of patients' visual status and for referral to an optometrist/ophthalmologist for further treatment.

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