Visual Assessments are Vital in Traumatic Brain Injury

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Effects of traumatic brain injury of varying degrees are not restricted to cognition and balance. Research shows that testing of visual function post-injury, both on the sideline and in clinical settings can help in both the immediate assessment and the understanding of long-term repercussions of head trauma, according to a study published in The Lancet Neurology.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussion, a mild form of TBI, has seen increased relevance among clinicians and civilians as sports-concussion and the exploration of its long-term effects has received much media attention.

Even mild TBI can cause abnormalities in saccades, pursuit, convergence, accommodation and vestibule-ocular reflex. Studies also suggest that there are subtle but long-lasting changes in response potentials in patients with previous TBI who complete visual memory tasks.

Due to the possible long-term effects of TBI, an objective and sensitive means of assessment is necessary to screen for minor head injury. Researchers suggest that the King Devick (K-D) test is useful in assessing head injury in sports-related concussions and could also have applications for on-site testing in military situations.

While K-D testing and other immediate assessments are pivotal in evaluating and treating minor TBI, researchers stress that there are more studies needed to help identify patients at risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other neurodegenerative diseases in order to be able to advise on future activities, especially collision risk in sports-related injuries. 

Neurophysiological Deficits Persist Following Concussion
Visual Assessments are Vital in Traumatic Brain Injury
This study of the effects of traumatic brain injury on visual systems aims to show the importance of visual screening in the assessment of various degrees of TBI. Concussion, especially sports-related occurrences, can be evaluated outside of a clinical setting using visual function tests administered by non-physicians. 
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