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Infrared Goggles Help Evaluate Concussions

The UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program uses video infrared goggles to evaluate concussions. By moving your eyes and then your head while wearing the goggles, Anne Mucha, DPT, clinical director of vestibular therapy, is able to evaluate both the visual and the vestibular parts of your concussion.

“They’re video infrared goggles, so they’re these scuba goggles that have these really cool infrared cameras in them. The cameras let us see your eyes both in the light but also in the dark. We can look at how your eyes are functioning both in static positions which is just sitting there and moving in different directions but then we can see what happens when you’re moving your head in different directions as well which is really powerful for us evaluating both the visual parts of your concussion as well as the vestibular parts of your concussion.

What we use the goggles for, for evaluation, is we are looking at both our ability to see your eyes while you’re focusing, so in the light but also in the dark and that’s what the infrared cameras do for us. Most people are familiar with night vision goggles that military folks use and these are kind of what I call night vision in reverse because instead of the infrared cameras being directed outward, the infrared is directed inward for us to just be able to see what your eyes are doing in the dark. So, when we evaluate folks with the video infrared goggles, we have them sitting and we ask them to move their eyes into different positions but then we also look at how their eyes respond in different positions of their head, so lying down with head turned to one side, basically when we put the goggles on we do things sitting and then we do thing lying down.

People always ask if wearing the goggles or doing the testing with the goggles is painful but it is not. Unlike a lot of other medical procedures that involve pain, using these video goggles does not because they’re really just goggles that are looking at your eyes, they’re not doing anything to you. When we lie you down in different positions however, you might get some of the dizziness or vertigo that you’ve been experiencing. That’s the only uncomfortable portion of the examination.”

About Sports Medicine

Sports bring with them a potential for injury. And if you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. We serve athletes from a wide variety of sports across every demographic: young or old, male or female, pro or amateur. We partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and over 60 high school, college, and regional teams and events. We’re working to build better athletes. We use cutting-edge rehabilitation techniques to help you recover and provide education on how to prevent injuries.