After an injury to the brain, it is estimated that 20 to 40 percent of the time, there are interruptions to the neurological system that controls eye movement, regulates focusing, and accurately interprets visual information. Approximately 80 percent of the information about the environment is received through vision; therefore, visual deficits can cause significant difficulties performing daily activities. Unfortunately, this is a deficit that is often overlooked after a brain injury.
Common visual symptoms include:
- Double vision
- Difficulty with visual tracking and scanning
- Difficulty focusing or maintaining focus
- Misalignment of eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Contrast sensitivity
- Decreased eye–hand coordination
One of the many ways Pate Rehabilitation addresses visual deficits is through use of the Sanet Vision Integrator (SVI). The SVI corrects many visual deficits patients may experience after a brain injury, as well as other deficits such as memory, speech, use of hands, and standing balance.
SVI has programs that promote eye-hand coordination, visual scanning efficiency, and sustained visual attention. Modifications can be made to the programs to meet the patient’s needs and increase complexity as they improve. The presentation of the stimuli can be adjusted so the patient has to focus on a specific area (for example, the left side for a patient who cannot see things on their left side) or the whole screen to widen the visual field. The size or contrast sensitivity of the visual stimuli can be increased or decreased. In addition, SVI includes a program that requires the patient to recall words, letters or numbers, and touch them on the screen in a certain order, to address memory, as well as visual difficulties. The screen can be raised or lowered so a patient can use the SVI from a wheelchair or standing position to help improve dynamic standing balance.
Consistent use of the SVI can help patients develop better scanning patterns, visual motor reaction speed, and sustained visual attention. This results in improved performance in, and more confidence with, important daily activities such as self-care, vocational and leisure activities, and driving which improves the overall quality of life.