A new study has found that symptoms of headache, dizziness and anxiety in some patients with traumatic brain injury could be alleviated, and maybe even eliminated, with specialized eyeglass lenses containing prisms.
The investigators included doctors from three southeast Michigan hospitals and one in private practice, and involved 43 patients with TBI.
"This represents a new approach to the treatment of post-concussive symptoms," says Mark S. Rosner, adjunct clinical instructor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and Emergency Department staff physician at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor.
"Vision was known to be affected by TBI, but now it appears that the vision abnormalities caused by the TBI are causing the other post-concussive symptoms," he added.
The study suggests that TBI appears to be causing visual image misalignment - or vertical heterophoria.
To correct this misalignment and prevent double vision, the eye muscles are utilized to force the eyes back into proper alignment.
This causes the eye muscles to become overworked, strained and fatigued, which accounts for many post-concussive symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, anxiety and neck pain.
The use of prismatic eyeglass lenses to realign the images and reduce or eliminate eye muscle overwork led to a 71.8 percent reduction of patient's symptoms.
The study was published in the April 2010 issue of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.