Veterans with Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury

Oct 18, 2013
Veterans with Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury Report Poorer Vision Quality

Veterans with blast-induced traumatic brain injury (TBI) reported poorer vision quality on questionnaires, according to a report by Sonne Lemke, Ph.D., of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, Calif., and colleagues.

TBI is an important health issue. More than 280,000 cases of TBI have been identified in U.S. military members since 2000, the authors write in the study background.

Researchers administered questionnaires to 60 veterans with TBI to assess the effect of blast exposure on perceived visual functioning. The study included 57 men and three women, median age 25 years. TBI was mild in 22 participants (37 percent); moderate or severe in 23 (38 percent) and penetrating in 15 (25 percent).

Veterans exposed to blasts reported poorer visual quality compared with healthy individuals and some patients with known eye disease, the study findings indicate.

“Many of the more than 2 million participants in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have returned to civilian life without ocular examinations. We recommend that any patient with a history of combat blast exposure undergo a thorough visual and ocular examination, even in the absence of visual complaints,” the study concludes.

JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online October 17, 2013. doi:10.1001/.jamaopthalmol.2013.5028.