Research Shows that Non-Concussion Head Hits Affect Athlete Vision

January 22, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Brown Human Eye

A new study of high school football players done through Indian University has found that repeat head impacts affect athlete vision even when the impact is sub-concussive. The good news is that it appears that the change in vision is temporary.  The bad news is that many concussion tests protocols rely on vision tests, and this finding throws the accuracy of the tests into doubt.

The researchers followed 12 male high school football players for a season, and found that there is an eye response to head trauma. It underlines how much more still needs to be understood about brain damage. While we have known for a while that teenage brains are more susceptible to concussion and brain damage than fully formed brains, we do not understand the mechanism of damage nor that of healing.

Concussions often result in the loss of ability to focus or to move eyes together. It’s believed this happens because of concussion damage to the part of the brain that initiates eye movement. These sub concussive head hits are a new piece in the puzzle.

The researchers had the boys wear special high-tech mouth guards that that recorded data on the hits the boys took. In a season, the 12 boys took a total of 8000 hits. The researchers also tested the boys for their ability to focus on objects close up. They found that this ‘near point of convergence’ worsened as the number of hits increased. They also found that by the end of the season the point of convergence had moved back to its normal pre-season level even when hits to the head continues.

This finding is key as researchers expected the condition to worsen as the number of hits grew. Researchers are not certain why this is, and they stress this has implications on concussion testing and return to play screening. The researchers concluded that using this ‘point of convergence’ as a testing benchmark may have to be reconsidered. Its usefulness and limitations as a clinical measurement for diagnosing acute and chronic sub concussion will have to be further studied.

You can read the full article here in JAMA Opthalmology

Posted under Accident Benefit News, Concussion Syndrome

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