What is post-concussion syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome describes a collection of physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms that persist for several weeks, months, or even a year or more after sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury (concussion).
Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome
Post-concussion syndrome is typically diagnosed when a person who has recently experienced a head injury continues to feel certain symptoms beyond the expected recovery period. While not an exhaustive list, symptoms may include:
- Brain fog
- Blurry or double vision
- Noise and light sensitivity
- Difficulty with memory
- Inability to concentrate or think clearly
- Intolerance of stress, emotion, or alcohol
Post-concussion headaches are the most prevalent symptom, affecting over 60 percent of people who experience a concussion. The headaches typically resemble that of a tension-type headache, migraine, or a combination of the two.
Can post-concussion syndrome last for years?
In most people with post-concussion syndrome, these symptoms occur within the first seven to 10 days and go away within three months. In some people, however, symptoms can persist for a year or more.
How do you get rid of post-concussion syndrome?
When it comes to post-concussion syndrome treatment, time is the best therapy, however, there are things you can do to manage your symptoms while your brain heals. Post-concussion therapies include:
Having post-concussion syndrome is an unsettling experience and it’s normal to feel anxious about your condition. To help you feel more at ease, seek support from your friends, family, and doctor. Receiving accurate information about your condition and symptoms, comfort, and assurance can go a long way in helping you relax and trust your body’s innate healing abilities.
While your brain is healing, it’s important to limit activities that require a high brain metabolic demand, such as attending crowded events or social gatherings where there is a lot of visual/auditory stimuli.
In addition to letting yourself cognitively rest, it’s also essential to allow yourself to physically rest. Avoid activities that put you at risk of another concussion or are physically demanding, such as playing sports, exercising vigorously, bike riding, or skiing.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
Many people with post-concussion syndrome experience emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that helps you learn how to identify and change unhelpful thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior, emotions, and stress levels.
Medications and supplements
In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage certain symptoms. For example, people experiencing severe anxiety or depression might be prescribed an antidepressant. Supplements can also be helpful. For instance, melatonin can help induce sleep in those experiencing insomnia.
With your doctor’s permission and guidance, introducing aerobic exercise training in stages can help improve cerebral blood flow following a concussion.
Blue light glasses
Blue light from digital devices can be extremely aggravating to people experiencing post-concussion syndrome, which often comes with the symptom of light sensitivity. Blue light glasses are a specific type of color-tinted glasses designed to prevent blue light wavelengths from entering your eyes.
Let’s take a closer look at post-concussion light sensitivity and blue light glasses.
Post-concussion syndrome light sensitivity
One of the most common symptoms of post-concussion syndrome is painful light sensitivity (photophobia). This means that light, no matter the source or actual level of brightness, often feels brighter and more painful for a person with post-concussion syndrome.
- Vision fatigue
- Eye pain
- Inability to tolerate bright lights
- Sore eyes when looking at digital screens
The most common light sources that can trigger light sensitivity in someone with post-concussion syndrome include bright sunshine, fluorescent lighting, and blue light from digital devices. Of these sources, some experts suggest that blue light is the most painful for a person with light sensitivity and a likely cause of worsening concussion-related symptoms.
Given that we’re exposed to more blue light than ever due to our widespread use of digital devices, this is a real problem for those recovering from post-concussion syndrome.
Do blue light glasses help with post-concussion syndrome?
Since a concussion is considered a disorder of information professing, many researchers believe that wearing blue light glasses while using digital devices can decrease stimuli, similar to how physical and cognitive rest does. This decrease in stimuli allows for restoration of cellular homeostasis in the neural tissue and, ultimately, reduced symptoms.
This has been demonstrated in a number of studies. In one study, two young athletes developed post-concussion syndrome with prominent visual symptoms that lasted a year. The addition of blue light glasses significantly lessened symptoms in both patients. The researchers suggested that these results were due to decreased stimulation of the visual system.
Evidence also shows that artificial blue light at night can prevent your body from producing the sleep hormone, melatonin. This is a major problem, as many people with post-concussion syndrome already experience insomnia or poor sleep, which can delay recovery. As such, blue light glasses can potentially aid in the recovery process by increasing sleep quality.
Which blue light glasses should you use?
If you’re interested in using blue light glasses during (and after) your recovery from post-concussion syndrome, it’s important to select a high-quality pair that block a significant amount of blue light.
GUNNAR is the only patented gaming and computer eyewear recommended by doctors to protect and enhance your vision. GUNNAR blue light glasses address many of the symptoms associated with post-concussion syndrome, including headaches, blurry vision, glare, negative effects of artificial blue light, eye strain, and fatigue. To learn more about what separates GUNNAR from other blue light blocking lenses on the market and how beneficial this technology is for the traumatic brain injury/post-concussion patients, listen to this episode of the podcast.
At GUNNAR, we use the GUNNAR Blue Light Filter™ (GBLF) to rate the blue light filtering effectiveness of our glasses. A lens tint with a higher the GBLF rating blocks more blue light.
Our signature amber lens tint has a GBLF of 65, meaning it blocks 65 percent of blue light from reaching your eyes. The amber tint is the optimal choice for protection while using digital devices indoors.
We also offer blue light sunglasses, which have a higher level of blue light protection (GBLF 90) and act as the ultimate shield when viewing digital screens outdoors.
To learn more about GUNNAR’s lens technology, click here.
The bottom line
If you’re experiencing post-concussion syndrome—take heart. There are several things you can do to make your recovery process more comfortable, including wearing blue light glasses. These glasses will not only serve you during your recovery, but will also protect your eyes from eye strain and artificial blue light long after you’ve recovered.
Visit GUNNAR’s website to find your perfect pair of blue light glasses today.