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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month: The Link Between Vision Loss and Brain Injury

In commemorating Brain Injury Month for 2024, observed each year in March, the Brain Injury Association (BIAA) has launched a survivor-focused awareness campaign. The “My Brain Injury Journey” campaign seeks to begin a larger discussion about some of the less well-known aspects of brain injury while “empowering survivors and their loved ones to share their personal stories about life after brain injury.” In considering post-brain injury life, it is important to recognize that vision loss, with its life-altering impact, is a common consequence following a brain injury, particularly when the injury is traumatic, or “caused by an external force.” The BIAA campaign’s intent is to shed light on both the complex nature of brain injury and the unique ways it impacts life for each survivor. “The intimate link between brain and eye leads to many manifestations of TBI (traumatic brain injury) that disturb vision, perception, and ability to perform essential everyday tasks such as reading, typing, driving, and navigating within the environment,” according to a study reported on by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Library of Medicine. Estimates indicate that more than half of all TBIs result in visual difficulties. Some of the most common issues are blurred vision, double vision, light sensitivity, reduction or loss of visual field, loss of contrast sensitivity, and visual fatigue. It is advisable to screen individuals who have experienced a TBI/concussion for vision symptoms. This will help to determine and address vision or ocular issues that may be contributing to post-injury difficulties to develop a vision rehabilitation plan, which is customized to meet each client’s individual, unique needs. For those providing vision rehabilitation services, it is recommended that clients be asked if they have ever had a brain injury so that this can be considered in the plan for services. Read more in the NIH National Library of Medicine report of a study on Traumatic brain injury: Mechanisms, manifestations, and visual sequelae, the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association webpage describing Common Vision Problems & Symptoms Following a Brain Injury, and the Disability Review article on Vision rehabilitation interventions following mild traumatic brain injury: a scoping review.

Resources for Brain Injury Awareness Month

The “My Brain Injury Journey” campaign invites survivors and those who care for and about them to share their experiences of living with brain injury. Developed with input from brain injury survivors, the campaign provides a toolkit with social media templates, sample language, fact sheets, printable signs, and more. BIAA also offers suggestions on how to get involved on their Brain Injury Awareness Month page. For additional information about the campaign and brain injury, read the webpages announcing that the Brain Injury Association of America Launches New Awareness Campaign in Conjunction with Brain Injury Awareness Month as well as those covering The My Brain Injury Journey Campaign and addressing What is the difference between an acquired brain injury and a traumatic brain injury?