When a person suffers a concussion, it isn’t always obvious right away. Many concussion symptoms don’t show up for days after a person suffers a blow to the head or other injury. A delayed diagnosis can make it harder to get the right treatment – and to fully recover from the injury.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new eye test for concussions. The Oculogica EyeBOX Test is a non-invasive, objective test that analyzes a patient’s eye movements to help doctors diagnose a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This will allow medical professionals to detect a concussion more easily and accurately so that a patient can get the treatment that they need.
If you have suffered a head injury after a car accident or another traumatic event, you may be able to file an insurance claim against the at-fault party. A Maryland car accident lawyer can help you with the process, starting with a free initial consultation. Contact our DuBoff & Associates today to learn more about your rights if you have been hurt in any type of accident.
A concussion is a type of brain injury. Unlike more serious brain injuries like TBIs, it can be hard to diagnose a concussion because the damage to the brain often does not show up on imaging like an MRI, an x-ray, or a CAT scan. Instead, doctors have to analyze concussion symptoms that are often more subjective.
If a patient comes to the hospital after a strike or blow to the head or violent shaking of the head and body, they will typically be evaluated for a concussion. Common concussion symptoms may include:
Importantly, these signs do not necessarily appear immediately after a brain injury. A person might be in a rear-end accident, for example, and get jolted by the sudden impact. They may not notice any concussion symptoms for days after the accident.
The EyeBOX test was designed to make it easier for doctors to diagnose brain injuries, particularly those that may not be immediately apparent. The Oculogica EyeBOX test was developed by two sisters: neurosurgeon and research scientist, Uzma Samadani, MD, Ph.D., and biomedical engineer, Dr. Rosalina Samadani.
While performing research at the Manhattan Veterans Administration Hospital, Dr. Uzma Samadani noticed a connection between brain injuries and restricted eye movement. Specifically, swelling in the brain after a concussion can affect the ability of the cranial nerves to control eye movements to and away from objects. This prompted her to question whether computer-aided eye-tracking could diagnose brain trauma.
Based on her research, Dr. Samadani formed a company with her sister, and they developed this eye test for concussions. The device looks like a big box with a screen, similar to what you might see when you visit the eye doctor. A patient who suffered a blow to the head sits in front of the screen, with their chin and forehead resting against a support. They then watch a short film.
While the patient is watching the video, the device measures cranial nerve function by tracking eye movements on the computer screen. By tracking eye movements, the device can flag the presence of a brain injury within 4 minutes. It analyzes more than 100,000 data points during the exam, and can even suggest where the injury may have occurred in the brain.
This eye test for concussions is non-invasive, quick, easy to use, and can be used on children as well as adults. Currently, it is only authorized by the FDA to detect the presence of concussions – not to make a conclusive diagnosis. However, this tool may allow physicians to diagnose or rule out concussions more quickly and accurately for patients who have suffered head trauma.
Historically, it has been difficult to diagnose concussions. Unlike more serious forms of TBIs, damage from a concussion often doesn’t appear on brain scans. While MRIs may be able to detect small areas of bleeding in the brain that may appear after a concussion, these tests are expensive and more difficult to do than CAT scans and X-rays. For this reason, doctors are reluctant to order MRIs unless they suspect that a patient has a life-threatening condition, like major bleeding or swelling in the brain.
Instead, doctors have traditionally relied on evaluating a patient for concussion symptoms such as headache, amnesia, or loss of consciousness. These symptoms are not always present in patients with concussions, however, and they may also be a sign of another health issue. In many patients, concussion symptoms do not appear for days or weeks after an injury.
Medically speaking, delayed diagnosis of a concussion can increase the risk of longer-term problems. According to one recent study, children who suffered a concussion are at risk of developing persistent symptoms such as headaches, vertigo, and post-concussion syndrome.
Most people recover from a concussion within 14 to 21 days. However, if a concussion is not diagnosed immediately, it may take 2 months or longer to fully recover from the effects of the injury. It also increases the risk of second-impact syndrome, a potentially fatal condition that occurs when the brain suffers a second injury before the signs and symptoms of an initial concussion have resolved.
The EyeBOX test may be a game-changer for people who suffer head injuries. If a person presents in an emergency department after a car accident, sports injury, or a fall, the eye test for concussions can be used to help doctors make a diagnosis. A proper diagnosis can ensure that the patient gets the right treatment, increasing the likelihood that they will make a full recovery and that they won’t suffer long-term effects from the concussion.
A more accurate concussion diagnosis is also important from a legal perspective. If you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit for your concussion, these test results can be an important piece of evidence to bolster your case. Even if an imaging test does not show damage to the brain, the results of the EyeBOX test can be used to prove that you did suffer a concussion in a car crash, slip or fall, or another type of accident.
Insurance companies often try to minimize the amount of money that they have to pay out on claims by arguing that a person’s injuries weren’t that serious, or that symptoms that they are experiencing can be attributed to a pre-existing condition. Combined with a doctor’s report, the EyeBOX test can shut down this line of attack – and help ensure that you get the money that you deserve for your injuries.
After a concussion, getting a quick, accurate diagnosis is key to making a full recovery. The eye test for concussions can help doctors make this diagnosis using objective, measurable data. The results of the EyeBOX test can then be used to bolster your personal injury claim.
At DuBoff & Associates, we are dedicated to helping injury victims get the compensation that they deserve for their losses. With law offices in Silver Spring and Baltimore, we represent clients throughout Maryland. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney, give us a call at 301-495-3131 or fill out our online contact form.Filed Under: