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  • Hillary Clinton’s Concussion and Double Vision

    Hillary Clinton’s Concussion and Double Vision

    Difficulty with vision is often an overlooked symptom following a brain injury, concussion, stroke, or any kind of acquired brain injury.

    Recently, Hillary Clinton fell after she fainted and suffered a concussion. During the course of her medical care following the concussion, a blood clot was also found in a vein that runs between the skull and the brain, behind her right ear. You may have heard reports that Mrs. Clinton was doing well and suffered no neurological damage. However, you may have also seen the reports where she wore glasses with Fresnel prism (a prism in the form of adhesive plastic placed on the lenses) due to double vision. This is most likely an issue resulting from her concussion and neurological insult.

    A lot of people who have suffered an acquired brain injury notice changes in their vision. If a person, like Mrs. Clinton suffers from double vision (diplopia), everyday tasks can become very difficult. Thankfully, there is help available. An optometrist knowledgeable in vision rehabilitation and the effects of an acquired brain injury on vision can provide a thorough eye examination, diagnose the problems, and provide or prescribe treatment. Treatment may include one or more of the following: glasses with prism, exercises for your eyes, and/or surgery. Prism can be ground into the lens or an adhesive (Fresnel) prism placed on your glasses such as what Mrs. Clinton was seen using. The prism can shift the image to help align the 2 images seen from each eye. Another type of treatment, and often performed concurrently, involves eye exercises to teach the person’s eyes how to work together again. Much like a person who suffers from hemiplegia following a stroke would participate in therapy to regain movement and control of their affected limbs, a person can participate in vision therapy to improve eye teaming skills. Surgery may also be recommended to better align the eyes.
    Hopefully, Mrs. Clinton will continue to improve and resolve her diplopia. In the meantime, hopefully more awareness will be brought to visual dysfunction and treatment options following an acquired brain injury and concussion such as Mrs. Clinton’s.

    For more information on Fresnel prisms, vision therapy, and symptoms following an acquired brain injury please visit the Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association website (nora.cc)

    To find out more about how prisms can help diplopia visit: http://www.glassescrafter.com/information/prism-in-eyeglasses.html

  • 10 Suggestions of how to Communicate to someone with Aphasia

    When someone you know has suffered a stroke and has aphasia (a communication deficit), you may not know how to communicate to them.

    Although strokes affect different parts of the brain and can cause different types of aphasia, here are some basic tips on how to talk to that person.

    After you get their attention:

    • Minimize or eliminate distractions in the environment when you are trying to talk to them.
    • Simplify how you are saying things without talking down to the person.
    • Slow down your rate of speech.
    • Sometimes asking questions that can be answered by yes and no can be helpful but at other times, the person with aphasia may say yes but really mean no or vice versa.
    • Use various modes of communication (writing, drawing, gestures, etc.) when speaking to them.
    • Encourage them to also use various modes to communicate such as gestures, writing, drawing, or to describe the word they are trying to say. 
    • Give them time to respond before you repeat information. 
    • Avoid speaking for the person and ask permission before you do so.  
    • Praise attempts to speak and don't be critical of their errors.
    • Use your imagination to try to figure out what they are trying to say. 

    For more tips go to the National Aphasia Association.

  • 9 Things NOT to Say to Someone with a Brain Injury

       Brain injury is confusing to people who don’t have one. It’s natural to want to say something, to voice an opinion or offer advice, even when we don’t understand.

    And when you care for a loved one with a brain injury, it’s easy to get burnt out and say things out of frustration.
    Here are a few things you might find yourself saying that are probably not helpful:

      >> Brain Line Resource

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