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Eye Movements, Dizziness, and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)

A Topical Review of Emerging Evidence and Screening Measures

Whitney, Susan L., DPT, PhD, NCS; Sparto, Patrick J., PT, PhD

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy: April 2019 - Volume 43 - Issue - p S31–S36
doi: 10.1097/NPT.0000000000000272
Special Interest Articles
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Background and Purpose: Eye movements may be adversely affected after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and should be examined. The purpose of this topical review is to provide the clinician with the most up-to-date knowledge related to eye movement abnormalities, screening measures, and evidence related to exercise interventions that are designed to enhance outcomes in persons after mTBI.

Summary of Key Points: Presence of eye misalignment such as tropias or phoria or symptoms with head/eye movements such as vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) × 1, saccades, or smooth pursuits may slow the person's recovery. Tools such as the Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey, the Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening, the Pediatric Vestibular Symptom Questionnaire, and the Pediatric Visually Induced Dizziness questionnaire may aid in identifying visual concerns to target in the physical therapy intervention program. There is emerging evidence that vestibular rehabilitation enhances recovery in persons after mTBI.

Recommendations for Clinical Practice: A thorough eye examination is highly recommended after mTBI to identify targeted areas for intervention.

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Correspondence: Susan L. Whitney, DPT, PhD, NCS, University of Pittsburgh, 100 Technology Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (Whitney@pitt.edu).

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2019 Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy, APTA