Vision is the skill that allows us to see the world around us. When we observe the world, a complex series of processes takes place between the eye and the brain. The eyes take in the information, while the brain is responsible for processing and interpreting it.
When the brain is injured, the ability to interpret visual information can be affected in different ways.
Visual problems following brain injury can affect both the quality of the information received by the brain and interpretation of the information received.
As a result, brain injury survivors can experience a number of different types of visual problems which can range from mild to severe depending on the nature of the injury. As there are such a wide range of different types of visual problems after brain injury, there is no single way of coping with them. However, the following are commonly used methods to help with managing visual problems after brain injury.
Less complex visual problems such as double vision can sometimes be corrected with the use of adjusted glasses or contact lenses, so an optician might be able to help with these.
Adapted technology can make it more comfortable for you to use devices such as mobile phones and computers. For instance, many devices come with adjustable screen settings so that you can make text larger or more contrasted, or the screen can be made brighter. You could also use a screen reader, by which your computer or mobile can read text aloud.
Visual prompts can help with some types of visual problems such as visual agnosia, prosopagnosia or visual neglect. For example, reminding people with visual neglect to turn their attention towards the neglected side of space can sometimes help. For people with prosopagnosia, focusing on non-facial features of a person, such as the person’s voice or hairstyle, can help with identifying them. For more tips on coping with prosopagnosia, see the Headway factsheet Prosopagnosia - face blindness after brain injury.
Take things at a slower pace where you can, especially if you have issues such as dizziness or balance problems.
They may be able to provide advice on how they can help. For instance, they might be able to offer personal care at home, help with shopping or arrange for adaptations to be made to your home to make it easier for you to get around safely and comfortably.
If you struggle with safely getting around by yourself, you could consider getting a guide dog. Remember that even though guide dogs have been trained to offer assistance, getting a dog can be a big commitment. You can get advice on whether this is a suitable option for you from organisations such as Guide Dogs (www.guidedogs.org.uk).
This can be from family, friends or even day-to-day encounters, such as someone standing at a bus stop with you, or someone working in a supermarket. You may find it helpful to show them your Headway Brain Injury Identity Card. To learn more about the card and apply click here.
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