March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 9:58 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, a time when advocates raise awareness and increase understanding of those suffering from brain injuries.

“Basically, the back of my head smashed through their windshield. It looks like if you were to take a basketball and push it into a windshield, but it was my head instead,” said Randel Hendrix.

On Feb. 27, 2020, Hendrix was out for a run with his wife when a car hit him from behind.

“That caused some damage to the visual cortex in my brain,” Hendrix said.

Brain injuries are often accompanied by a symptom that can greatly affect one’s day-to-day life — vision deficits.

Officials say 90% of brain injury patients have trouble with vision following the injury.

“The vision that I did have, it was white, black and grey and the vision that I did have, it was doubled,” Hendrix said.

Dr. Megan Sumrall Lott, a functional optometrist at Belle Vue Specialty Eye Care in Hattiesburg, says there are many links between brain function and vision.

“Studies show 60-70% of the brain is directly or indirectly involved in vision,” Lott said.

While in rehab to regain his ability to walk, Hendrix heard about Belle Vue Speciality Eye Care.

“We had this person at the rehab that told us, ‘If you want to get this fixed, this is where you go.’ And so we went straight there,” Hendrix said.

Through therapy at Belle Vue, Hendrix was able to see at the same level he could prior to the accident.

Experts say some cases may be more obvious than others due to the nature of the injury— while others seem mild.

But Lott says the nature of the accident doesn’t always signify the severity of lingering effects.

“Often brain injuries, concussions, they are considered a silent disability because a patient on the outside, they can look absolutely perfectly normal and healthy,” Lott said.

She noted there are some signs to look for that could indicate vision problems after a brain injury.

“Whenever you’re reading, you may skip over words, you may have poor reading comprehension, you may see double, you may be off-balance, you may just kind of feel off,” Lott said.

You can find more info on Belle Vue Specialty Eye Care here.

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