Link between concussions and changes in the retina and optic nerve


New Orleans, La. — Concussions have become an increasingly concerning public health issue. This week at the 2023 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology's (ARVO) Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La., one study investigated subconcussive head trauma, concussions and history of concussions to determine if there was a correlation with functional changes in the optic nerve and retina.

Rajeev S. Ramchandran, MD, MBA, and a team of multidisciplinary researchers including Jeffrey J. Bazarian, MD, MPH, and Steven Silverstein, PhD, Director of the Center for Retina and Brain at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. assessed male college athletes from one school at pre-season, post-season, and at four months post-season. The athletes were football players with a history of concussions, players without a history of concussions, and non-contact athletes such as runners and swimmers matched for age and sex.

“Structural macular and optic nerve changes in football-related concussions may not be short-term.” Ramchandran and his team concluded, “Even severe head impacts during a single season are associated with acute changes that may be more long term. These findings highlight the retina and optic nerve as important biomarkers for brain structure and function and suggest that head trauma may have significant impact on long term visual and eye health.”

  • Abstract title: Football-Related Concussions and Head Impacts Correlate with Structural Changes in the Macula and Optic Nerve
  • Presentation start/end time: Sunday, April 23, 5:15 – 5:30pm CT
  • Location: 353-355
  • Presentation number: 988


The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at

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Jenniffer Scherhaufer