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Dr. Sharieff Answers Questions on Neuro Optometry

Q: What is Neuro-Optometry?

  • A: Neuro-optometry is an evaluation and treatment of visual dysfunctions as a result of neurological dysfunctions. These can be due to acquired brain injury such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury such as concussions or other serious head injury or developmental delays.

Q: How Does Neuro-Optometry Help?

  • A: Neuro-optometry helps with improving an individual’s functional deficits that affects vision besides sight. This can be improving an individual’s gait, posture, balance, tracking, depth perception, visual analysis, and processing.

Q: What’s the Difference Between Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation and Vision Therapy?

  • A: The fundamental difference is that neuro-optometric rehabilitation typically tackles issues that arise from a brain injury like a traumatic event, disease or other episode, while vision therapy addresses problems that are developmental in nature, such as dyslexia.

Q: Which Visual Problems Can a Neuro-Optometrist Treat?

  • A: The following are most of the visual problems as a result of a brain injury that a neuro-optometrist treats: Tracking problems, focusing problems, double vision, headaches, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, mental fatigue, blurred vision, confusion in busy visual and sound environments like a busy restaurant and Walmart, spatial disorientation, balance, dizziness, gait and posture problems, visual memory, visual field loss, reading and comprehension problems.

Q: How Can Brain Injury Affect Vision?

  • A: Brain injury can cause incomplete or misdirected signal to the eyes. This can be manifested with visual field loss, restrict efficiency with tracking, switching focus at different distances, proper eye teaming causing double vision or serious depth perception problems, decreased ability to process visual information efficiently that can impair multi-tasking and seriously slow down the ability to process information.

Q: Neuro-Optometrist vs. Neuro-Ophthalmologist — What’s the Difference?

  • A: Neuro-Optometrists are doctors of optometry with additional training to diagnose and treat neurological conditions that negatively impact the visual system. They help patients rehabilitate their vision with specific optical lenses and eye-training therapy that rewire the brain. Neuro-ophthalmologists are medical doctors trained to diagnose and treat with a focus on surgery and medicines but not the rehabilitation process.

Q: Do Visual Problems Manifest Right After a Brain Injury?

  • A: Yes, it does.

Q: Who Is Neuro-Optometry For?

  • A: For anyone with a neurological dysfunction. It is for all ages regardless of the cause – It can be for development delays such as autism, cerebral palsy, it can be for acquired brain injury as a result of stroke, brain surgery or it can be for traumatic brain injury after a motor vehicle accident or a fall with a concussion or serious brain injury with bleeding or someone who was in a coma previously and is recovering.

Q: How Long Is the Vision Rehabilitation Process?

  • A: This is very individualized depending on the type of neurological injury. Some may benefit with specialized lenses or prisms but most will benefit with additional therapy to help rewire the brain and can last from 16 weeks to 36+ weeks.