Brain Injuries

Damage to the Occipital Lobe - Amber Lauwers

Information on Your Injury

During your fall down the stairs you sustained a blow to the back of the head in which you damaged a part of your brain called the Occipital lobe. "Different functions and behaviors are localized in certain brain regions," (NHI, 2012). The Occipital lobe is a region that controls functions and behaviors related to vision.


The Occipital lobe primary function is to be "the main centers for visual processing," (Bailey, 2016). Located in the Occipital lobe is the Primary Visual Cortex, which receives electrical signals from the retina, which is then processed in the Occipital lobe. This process involves the eye seeing random shapes and colors; this information is than transmitted to the primary visual cortex in which it turns it into an object that you recognize.


Some functions of the Occipital Lobe are:

Visual Perception

Color recognition

Depth perception


When your Occipital Lobe is damaged it can also cause your visual acuity and perception of movement to decrease (SSC, 2008). This means that the clarity of what you are seeing will not be as clear and concise as it normally would be, as well as the perception of moving objects is harder to pay attention to and analyze.

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Behavioral Changes Observed

The behavioral effects that were observed following the brain damage was that you blacked out. What your eyes were seeing were not being processed in the Occipital Lobe which creates a black out.


Other symptoms that were recognized after injury is your vision deficiencies. You were no longer able to discern between colors, and your vision clarity is not sharp and clear.


Your current visual state also includes seeing black spots, and that you have visual disturbances that include double vision, and object misinterpretation.

Treatment Available

Although there is no cure for the damage done, treatment is available in therapy. After multiple test have been completed to better analyze your vision impairments as in location and the overall extent of damage, an Occupational Therapist is able to teach you how to compensate or retain the vision you are left with, (Wexner, 2000). They will help determine what the best approach in therapy will be for your injury.


Some therapy's for Occipital lobe injuries can focus on regaining the ability to function normally with your damaged vision, teaching you to coordinate and manage daily activities.


Medications can be used to treat any pain management, troubles with sleeping, and also counseling to help the patient cope with their injury and its effects.

Questions

What are other symptoms to look out for that can be caused by the damage of the Occipital Lobe?


Other symptoms that can occur, could be hallucinations. Visual illusions can come to light, and come in the form of objects appearing bigger than they are, objects lacking color (CNS, 2016).Comprehension of reading and visual objects can also occur, these need to be discussed with your therapist to see what they can do to evaluate this symptom further for treatment.


How can I support the patient?


The best support you can give to the patient is to be supportive of the transition the patient will be going through. They will be experiencing many changes that they are not used to. Also supporting them by having them continue therapy, and counseling.


Will the damage get worse?


Any further injury can make the damage worse, and produce new or worsen the symptoms of the patient. Continued safety is key to prevention. Some safety tips are to wear seat belts in the car, wearing helmets, and being aware of falling hazards. All these will contribute to the prevention of further brain damage.

References

Bailey, R. (2016). Occipital Lobes. About Education. Obtained from http://biology.about.com/od/anatomy/p/occipital-lobes.htm


CNS. (2016). Occipital Lobes. Centre for Neuro Skills. Obtained from http://www.neuroskills.com/brain-injury/occipital-lobes.php


NHI. (2012). How Does the Brain Work. National Institutes of Health. Obtained from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQEiux-AOzs


SSC. (2008). Impairment of Vision Due to Damage to the Brain in Children. Scottish Sensory Centre. Obtained from http://www.ssc.education.ed.ac.uk/courses/vi&multi/vdec082ii.html


Wexner Medical Center. (2000). Visual and Perception Problems after a Brain Injury. Wexner Medical Center. Obtained from https://patienteducation.osumc.edu/Documents/visual-perceptual.pdf