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Visual function, traumatic brain injury, and posttraumatic stress disorder

Goodrich, G. L., Martinsen, G. L., Flyg, H. M. , Kirby, J., Garvert, D. W. & Tyler, C. W. (2014). Visual function, traumatic brain injury, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 51(4), pp. 547-558. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2013.02.0049


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are signature injuries of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The conditions can be comorbid and have overlapping signs and symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose and treat each. TBI is associated with numerous changes in vision function, but vision problems secondary to PTSD have not been documented. To address this shortcoming, we reviewed the medical records of 100 patients with a history of TBI, noting PTSD diagnoses, visual symptoms, vision function abnormalities, and medications with visual side effects. Forty-one patients had PTSD and 59 did not. High rates of binocular vision and oculomotor function deficits were measured in patients with a history of TBI, but no significant differences between patients with or without PTSD were evident. However, compared to patients without PTSD, patients with PTSD had more self-reported visual symptoms in all four assessments and the complaint rates were significantly higher for light sensitivity and reading problems. Together, these findings may be beneficial in understanding vision problems in patients with TBI and PTSD as comorbid conditions compared with those with TBI alone.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: binocular vision, blast-related, medication side effects, non–blast-related, oculomotor function, posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, vision function, vision loss, visual symptoms
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
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