One of the most important things health professionals should do in the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is to assess the patient for pupil changes. This is because a change in pupil size or reaction can signify severe brain damage, which may require immediate medical attention.
Some people with TBI can have very subtle changes in their pupils that may not be clear at first glance, so medical professionals need to know what these changes look like and perform a pupillary size measurement.
This post will examine how pupil changes can indicate damage to the brain, as well as what other symptoms are related to this type of injury.
Why Are Normal Pupils Important?
People affected by TBI often overlook the importance of a healthy pupil. Many people with brain injuries are unaware that they may have had a change in pupil size or reaction after the accident, which can make it difficult for them to get the help they need right away.
Doctors and other medical experts can use the size of a patient’s pupils to indicate whether they have suffered a brain injury. This is because the condition of the pupils can change quickly following an accident, so if it does so, then this could be a sign that something has gone wrong in the patient’s brain.
How do traumatic brain injuries affect the pupillary response of patients?
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) affect the pupillary response of patients in several ways. For example, they may cause the pupils to become dilated or constricted. If a person suffers from this condition following an accident, it can indicate that something has gone wrong inside their brain.
Doctors and other medical experts rely on the pupillary light reflex when determining whether someone needs treatment for a TBI. They will also use pupil size to diagnose other conditions, such as stroke or seizures.
With TBIs, the pupils will typically dilate within the first few hours after the injury occurs. This is because of swelling in the brain that occurs as a result of trauma. It may also occur if someone suffers from bleeding or bruising on their head, which can happen when they are hit by something.
What are the methods of traumatic brain injury evaluation?
Doctors can evaluate someone for a TBI in a few different ways.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan
A CT scan is nothing but an x-ray that uses computer technology to create detailed images of the brain and other organs. CT scans can help doctors determine whether there is bleeding or swelling in the brain and how severe it is.
But they have limitations. CT scans can’t show the damage to the brain that occurs as a result of trauma. They also can’t reveal how well an injured person is functioning.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
An MRI uses radio waves and a magnetic field to create detailed images of the brain and other organs. MRI scans can show whether there is bleeding or swelling in the brain after a traumatic injury, but they have similar limitations as CT scans. They also can’t reveal how well an injured person is functioning.
Positron emission tomography (PET)
A PET scan uses a radioactive substance to measure blood flow and activity in the brain. This allows doctors to see whether there are any areas of injury or damage after trauma. However, PET scans aren’t commonly used for traumatic brain injuries because they’re expensive, time-consuming, and often inconclusive.
A pupilometer is a device that measures an injured person’s pupils. This helps doctors determine whether they have suffered a traumatic brain injury, as dilated pupils are one of the most common symptoms.
The pupilometer has proven to be the most effective and widely used method of determining whether someone has suffered a traumatic brain injury. Because the pupils are one of the most sensitive parts of the eye, minor changes in blood pressure or oxygen can affect their levels when there’s trauma to other parts of the body — such as the head.
Why should doctors employ the pupilometer in evaluating the pupillary light reflex in traumatic brain injuries?
The pupilometer is a simple, non-invasive procedure that can accurately determine whether there is damage to the brain.
It’s also one of the easiest ways for doctors to assess whether someone has suffered a traumatic brain injury — especially if they have lost consciousness.