Managing Vision Problems
Common visual symptoms after TBI
You may find that certain lights may cause you discomfort. Artificial lighting and computer or TV screens may be more bothersome than before. Know that this will get better. It is helpful to wear sunglasses when you are outside, and there are certain filters you can use on your screens to help you while you are experiencing these symptoms. You can do activities as long as it does not cause your symptoms to worsen (i.e. headaches, dizziness, and eyestrain).
You may find that your vision does not seem as clear or in focus. If you have them, you may find that you need to wear your prescription glasses more frequently. If you are 40 years old or older and have not been wearing reading glasses, you may find that you need them now. If the blurry vision is constant and severe, please contact your regular eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam, or you can call our TBI nurse and we can help you find an eye doctor.
If you notice that things appear double, pay attention to see if things are truly double, or if the image is “overlapping”. If it is truly double, it may be an eye muscle problem, or, if the image is overlapping, it may be a glasses prescription problem, dry eyes, or focusing difficulty. If the double vision is severe, please call our TBI nurse.
You may notice yourself losing your place when you are reading, or having difficulty scanning the aisles at the supermarket, this is another common symptom after a TBI. You can try to use a ruler to keep your place when reading. It may be helpful to plan your trip to the grocery ahead of time and go when it is least busy.
It is common to experience dry, scratchy eyes after a TBI. If it is more severe, it may also cause blurry vision. Try putting in artificial teardrops 3-4 times a day. We recommend Systane Ultra or Refresh Plus. If this does not help, please contact your regular eye doctor, or you can call our TBI nurse and we can help you find a doctor.
Screen use and how to decrease eye strain/fatigue
- Utilizing a blue light filter on your computer or decreasing the brightness can improve eyestrain - windows 10 has a setting under the display settings called “night light” that you can turn on. justgetflux.com is a free blue light filter download for computers as well
- Using a larger screen or connecting your computer to your television may help alleviate strain of looking at a small screen
- When using a screen make sure that the rest of the room/lights are well lit. Looking at a bright screen while in the dark may increase strain.
- Increasing font size as well as contrast can aid in comfort with reading. You can use the following shortcut to ‘zoom in’ on the computer screen:
- “control + (+)” shortcut on your keyboard
Reading at home
- Breaking up screen time/reading with less straining tasks such as listening to music or just closing your eyes to rest. Alternate between physical activities and visual activities to give your eyes a break.
- Reading books with larger font and different colored background (option for some kindles/phones) will help decrease strain.
- Make sure you have good lighting and a comfortable position. It’s easy to worsen symptoms when you are hunched over a book and straining to see it.
When struggling with symptoms…. Take a break!
Try something different and go back to the screen/book later. Shorter amounts of time on the computer/reading will be more comfortable. Increase the frequency throughout the day instead of the amount of time spent reading/using the computer in one sitting will help eye strain, fatigue, headaches and stress.