occipital lobe, brain anatomy, brain injury, tbi

The Occipital Lobe

The occipital lobe is responsible for processing and interpreting visual information. It is associated with many visual functions, which include: 

Function  Definition  Example 
Depth and Distance Perception  The ability to see objects in three dimensions (length, width, and depth) and judge how far an object is  Walking through a crowd of people without bumping into others 
Color Determination  The ability to recognize and identify colors  Finding a red pen to grade papers 
Object and Face Recognition  The ability to recognize and identify faces and objects  Recognizing your friend at a mall 
Memory Formation  The ability to remember information that was received and processed by the occipital lobe  Recalling the model of a car involved in an accident 


These visual abilities are important because they help us interact with our environment and perform our everyday activities more easily and functionally.  

Damage to the occipital lobe may lead to: 

  • Vision loss or blindness 
  • Inability to identify colors 
  • Hallucinations 

The location of the injury may also cause different types of vision loss.  

Location  Result 
On one side of the occipital lobe  Visual field cut on the same side of both eyes  

  • Can only see your right visual field if injury occurred on right portion of the occipital lobe 
  • Can only see your left visual field if injury occurred on left portion of the occipital lobe  


On both sides of the occipital lobe  Cortical blindness: total or partial loss of vision in a normal-appearing eye 
On the back portion of the occipital lobe  Visual field cut on the same side of both eyes but can still maintain some vision in the middle of your visual field 


There are general strategies that an individual with an occipital lobe injury can utilize. These include: 

  • Visual scanning techniques  
  • Using labels with large print 
  • Using contrast to distinguish items, i.e., colored tape on edge of stairs 
  • Using a magnifying glass  
  • Maintaining good lighting around the house




For more TBI Glossary Terms, click here.


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