Dizziness and Balance Problems Related to Vision

In recent years, the important link between vision and our ability to balance has become better understood, and with that, we are better equipped to treat dizziness and other balance problems which are caused by a vision issue.

Dizziness and Balance Problems Related to Vision in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

The Link Between Vision and Balance

About twenty percent of the nerve fibers from the neural eye tracts (which connect the brain to the eyes) interact with the vestibular system (parts of the inner each which help control balance). So along with the various other causes of vestibular disorders which can negatively impact one’s ability to balance, damage to these important links between the eyes and the brain can cause dizziness or other balance problems.

You may have been told that closing your eyes while experiencing motion sickness or seasickness can help alleviate the symptoms. In other, more extreme cases of something impacting your bodily equilibrium, correcting the vision problem responsible can help.

 

Symptoms of Vestibular Disorders

Apart from the obvious dizziness, nausea, and trouble balancing that can come with vestibular disorders,other symptoms can include:

  • Vertigo
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Hearing abnormalities
  • Cognitive or psychological changes
  • Vision disturbances

Vision Issues Which Can Cause Vestibular Disorders

There are a number of common vision issues which can cause vestibular disorders and bring on symptoms of dizziness or trouble balancing.

  • Vertical Imbalance

Vertical imbalance is when the eyes are not properly synchronized, with one aiming higher than the other. In a natural attempt to compensate, people are likely to tilt their head to help align their eyes properly. This attempt to correct one problem can cause another, as it can destabilize the vestibular fluid in the inner ear, leading to dizziness and trouble balancing.

  • Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Binocular vision dysfunction is when the eyes are not properly working together as a team, and aren’t aiming together and accurately focusing on a single point. Injuries which disrupt this ability can cause issues with eye teaming and focusing, which in turn cause blurred and/or double vision, which themselves can easily cause dizziness and an inability to balance.

  • Aniseikonia

This is a vision condition where there is a significant discrepancy in how each eye perceives the size of images. It can cause eye strain, headaches, disorientation, dizziness, and balance disorders.

 

Symptoms of Vestibular Disorders
Diagnosis of Vision Issues Causing Dizziness or Balance Difficulty

Diagnosis of Vision Issues Causing Dizziness or Balance Difficulty

An eye misalignment which is causing your dizziness or balanced issues can be so slight that standard vision tests won’t detect anything wrong. For this reason, it is important to have a completed functional visual assessment in order to conclusively determine if a vision issue is at the root of your problem.

Treatment for Dizziness and Balance Problems Caused by a Vision Issue

The surest way to eliminate the symptoms caused by these issues is to treat the underlying cause. Neuro-optometric rehabilitative therapy, combined with balance or vestibular therapy, can be an effective treatment to reduce, if not outright terminate, these symptoms.

Additionally, specialized prescription lenses which can be prescribed by a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation certified optometrist can provide relief.

Diagnosis of Vision Issues Causing Dizziness or Balance Difficulty

How Does Treatment Work?

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy consists of a personalized program of regular therapy sessions designed to refine, improve, or develop vision skills which have been lost or which the patient never had full access to. The treatments improve the brain eye connection by improving your ability to visually perceive and process what is around you.

The functional eye exam you take prior to diagnosis and treatment will also tell our optometrist which visual skills the treatment needs to focus on, ensuring a targeted treatment of your specific problems.

Depending on your situation, vestibular therapy (therapy designed to relieve symptoms of dizziness and restore your ability to balance properly) may also be recommended in addition to the neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

How Long Does Treatment Take

As with the treatment itself, this varies on a case-by-case basis. Some patients may require only a few weeks or treatment, while others may require treatment over a much longer period. However, in either case, the improvements seen during the course of the therapy tend to be long-lasting.

When Should I Seek Treatment

With this sort of problem, it is vital to get evaluated by our neuro-optometrist as soon as possible following the onset of symptoms, and, in the case of a traumatic brain injury, you should schedule an evaluation even if symptoms have yet to present themselves. The sooner you begin treatment, the better the chances of correcting the problems, and the less time it will take. This is because vision problems caused by traumatic brain injuries, if untreated, can worsen over time.

However, even if it is a long time after the injury, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can still be a great help. If you are experiencing dizziness or balance problems, contact us to schedule a comprehensive evaluation.

 

Symptoms of Vestibular Disorders
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Summary

While it might not seem obvious at first glance, dizziness and difficulty balancing may well be caused by a vision issue, due to the important link between vision and the body’s complex system that enables us to balance and function properly. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is well equipped to treat these problems, and you are likely to see better results if you seek treatment quickly. 

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