This morning, the Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association and The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) issued a joint call-to-action to all healthcare professionals to consider the need for medical and/or functional optometric rehabilitation services for patients who have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, such as a concussion, or due to a medical condition such as stroke, tumor, aneurism, meningitis and cerebral palsy, or other neurological insults. A press release was distributed nationally and also posted via various social media outlets. You can see the press release and the joint recommendation here.
Clinicians regularly assess a concussion or other acquired brain injury to the symptoms that an individual manifests at the time of injury but, unfortunately, vision-related problems are often overlooked during initial evaluation. Some symptoms, like visual discomfort and vision-mediated functional difficulties such as slowed reading and compromised attention, may not be present until days, weeks, or even longer following the incident. The consequences of these occurrences may also include cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration, along with motor and sensory issues leading to impaired academic, work, and sport performance.
Given the high rate of visual symptoms and known impact, both COVD and NORA urge healthcare professionals to consider the possibility that a patient’s ocular or visual signs or symptoms may have been a result of a brain injury and refer him/her to an optometrist who has special expertise in the assessment and treatment of visual disturbances associated with damage to the central nervous system.
Both COVD and NORA also stress the importance of an interdisciplinary, integrated team approach in the diagnosis and rehabilitation of patients with concussions, stroke or other neurological deficits. To further emphasize our commitment to strong working relationships among professionals, this year’s conference theme is Education. Collaboration. Rehabilitation. – Achieving Favorable Outcomes Through Interdisciplinary Care.”
NORA members receive discounted pricing for both the pre-conference and general conference and all General Conference attendees are eligible for early-bird pricing if registered by June 30, 2019. Conference agenda and links to information about conference fees, Frequently Asked Questions, and Registration Form are available at https://noravisionrehab.org/about-nora/annual-conference.
Both COVD and NORA offer resources to help patients and caregivers find the help they need following a concussion as well as tools and resources for optometrists and other healthcare professionals. NORA members can download Patient Education materials, infographics, and resources for professionals from the member log in page.
We will be posting information about this recommendation on our Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin pages and we strongly encourage you to comment, share, retweet (#optoeval), etc. to support our mission to increase public and professional awareness and understanding of the need for neuro-optometric rehabilitation and the importance of an interdisciplinary team approach.