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Eye Tests May Help Screening for Traumatic Brain Injuries and Concussions

According to a recent article from Medscape, U.S. Army investigators report that a quick and simple test performed with a pupillometer may be an effective way to test for the presence of a concussion and traumatic brain injury. A pupillometer is a tool that measures pupillary distance, and a new study has demonstrated that using this tool may provide medical professionals with new clues as to the existence of a traumatic brain injury and concussion. According to the report, using this tool may help medical professionals identify functional differences in pupillary distance that can be used to create a set of identifiable parameters that medical professionals can use to search for the presence of traumatic brain injuries. The initial testing that has led investigators to believe they may on the verge of identifying another useful tool in diagnosing traumatic brain injuries used dim lighting conditions to measure pupillary dilation, reaction time, and how long it took pupils to return to normal after using a light source as a stimulus. Basing findings against a control group with no history of traumatic brain injuries, investigators believe they have begun to identify markers that will help medical professionals quickly and accurately identify the presence of a traumatic brain injury that may have otherwise gone undetected.

The article notes that, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Defense, there were 340,000 cases of traumatic brain injury clinically confirmed between 2000 and 2015, of which 82.5 percent were mild traumatic brain injuries. However, traumatic brain injuries are often only identified when such injuries qualify as moderate or severe when victims are unconscious for an extended period of time. This likely means that even though mild traumatic brain injuries make up the bulk of traumatic brain injuries, many mild cases may be going undiagnosed. However, the article also references the fact that over 30 areas of the brain and 12 cranial nerves deal with matters related to vision. It would not be surprising to discover that distortions or identifiable differences in vision may be able to indicate the presence of a traumatic brain injury and concussion. The article and those responsible for the trial point out that this new testing procedure could be easily taught to medical professionals that may be tasked with performing it, and has the potential to give almost immediate feedback on the presence of a traumatic brain injury. This would allow an individual identified as having a traumatic brain injury receive treatment as soon as possible, and potentially help ensure that far fewer cases of minor traumatic brain injuries and concussions are misdiagnosed.

Medical Advances

While this new technique may hold a great deal of potential in diagnosing traumatic brain injuries, its accuracy and efficacy must still be determined. It will take many more tests to determine whether or not such visual screening is an appropriate tool for diagnosing traumatic brain injury. While the findings of the testing are not certified by the U.S. Department of Defense, they could potentially allow for quicker diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries throughout the armed services, especially those related to service members on active duty. Traumatic brain injuries are serious, and have the potential to cause serious long-term complications in victims.

It is essential that victims be properly diagnosed and receive appropriate treatment in a timely manner. Deferring treatment can cause further damage. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a traumatic brain injury, it is important that you seek medical assistance as soon as possible. You may also be entitled to compensation for such injuries depending on the circumstances of your case. The attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand the serious nature of these injuries, and have worked with clients in many circumstances that have experienced such injuries. Contact Levin & Perconti to schedule a consultation if you have suffered a traumatic brain injury and believe you may be eligible for compensation.

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