Purpose: The impairment of visual functions is one of the most common complaints following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Traumatic brain injury–associated visual deficits include blurred vision, reading problems, and eye strain. In addition, previous studies have found evidence that TBI can diminish early cortical visual processing, particularly for second-order stimuli. We investigated whether cortical processing of binocular disparity is also affected by mTBI.
Methods: In order to investigate the influence of mTBI on global stereopsis, we measured the quick Disparity Sensitivity Function (qDSF) in 22 patients with mTBI. Patients with manifest strabismus and double vision were excluded. Compared with standard clinical tests, the qDSF is unique in that it offers a quick and accurate estimate of thresholds across the whole spatial frequency range.
Results: Results show that disparity sensitivity in the mTBI patients were significantly reduced compared with the normative dataset (n = 61). The peak spatial frequency was not affected.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that the reduced disparity sensitivity in patients with mTBI is more likely caused by cortical changes (e.g., axonal shearing, or reduced interhemispheric communication) rather than oculomotor dysfunction.