Vision and Concussion: Symptoms, Signs, Evaluation, and Treatment


Master CL, Bacal D, Grady MF, Hertle R, Shah AS, Strominger M, Whitecross S, Bradford GE, Lum F, Donahue SP. Vision and Concussion: Symptoms, Signs, Evaluation, and Treatment. Pediatrics 2022;

Date Published:

2022 Jul 18


Visual symptoms are common after concussion in children and adolescents, making it essential for clinicians to understand how to screen, identify, and initiate clinical management of visual symptoms in pediatric patients after this common childhood injury. Although most children and adolescents with visual symptoms after concussion will recover on their own by 4 weeks, for a subset who do not have spontaneous recovery, referral to a specialist with experience in comprehensive concussion management (eg, sports medicine, neurology, neuropsychology, physiatry, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology) for additional assessment and treatment may be necessary. A vision-specific history and a thorough visual system examination are warranted, including an assessment of visual acuity, ocular alignment in all positions of gaze, smooth pursuit (visual tracking of a moving object), saccades (visual fixation shifting between stationary targets), vestibulo-ocular reflex (maintaining image focus during movement), near point of convergence (focusing with both eyes at near and accommodation (focusing with one eye at near because any of these functions may be disturbed after concussion. These deficits may contribute to difficulty with returning to both play and the learning setting at school, making the identification of these problems early after injury important for the clinician to provide relevant learning accommodations, such as larger font, preprinted notes, and temporary use of audio books. Early identification and appropriate management of visual symptoms, such as convergence insufficiency or accommodative insufficiency, may mitigate the negative effects of concussion on children and adolescents and their quality of life.

Last updated on 09/02/2022