What Is Suppression

What does it mean when one of my eyes is suppressed? And how does that impact vision? 

What Is Suppression in Olympia

Dr. Levi Zurcher cartoon

Take our Vision Quiz to learn whether you should explore Vision Therapy

American Family Vision Clinic

What Is Suppression?

Suppression is the act of one of the eye’s shutting down visual input being sent to the brain. This can happen intermittently or be constant. Suppression could also be isolated to one eye or alternate between both. Usually this happens when binocular vision cannot be achieved so in order to compensate an eye would suppress the visual information.

How Does Suppression Happen?

It can occur for a multitude of specific reasons but to keep it simple it happens when our binocular system engages but can’t achieve fusion. Fusion is when both of our eyes are acting in concert and take two separate images they’re perceiving and form them into one image in our minds. When fusion can’t be achieved we will end up with diplopia, or seeing two separate images at once. As you could imagine this isn’t what someone would like to experience all the time. Our minds, being powerful tools, figure a way around this in order to reduce the comfort one would experience with double vision. The mind effectively turns off the incoming data from one of the eyes, usually the weaker one, just like a light switch. Now the mind is only taking in the sensory information from one eye, making for one distinct picture in our mind. Usually, the lack of fusion is ascribed to the system being brought to and exceeding its breaking point or the range when it cannot achieve binocularity.

How Does Suppression Happen?
How Does Suppression Happen?

How Does Suppression Happen?

This is indeed a good question. If someone is to experience suppression, is it isolated to one eye? The answer, like most things medically related, has a few components to the answer. The answer varies depending on what specific person it’s affecting. Most people experience suppression within a certain binocular range where the demand exceeds what they are able to do. If suppression occurs in this range a person might use their stronger eye over the weaker one. Suppression can be constant or intermittent once a person is in that range meaning once they hit that point the suppression won’t subside until the demand is decreased or, like our light switch metaphor, it will flicker on and off resulting in intermittent suppression. Another feature of suppression is that it can be alternating which means that a person will switch between what eye is relaying information and what eye is not. For the most part, people aren’t aware of the alternation as well as the occurrence of suppression in general. 

How Does Suppression Happen?

Symptoms and Treatments

We touched on a few symptoms earlier but we’ll go over them in detail now. The list of symptoms includes but is not limited to: 

  • Eye turn/deviation
  • Inaccurate depth judgment
  • Incoordination
  • Inaccurate eye-hand coordination
  • Abnormal postural adaptation
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Lacking concentration or distractibility while performing visually demanding tasks

 

 

Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Summary

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it might be worth a look during an advanced vision exam. At this is one of the things we check for throughout a comprehensive vision exam. In the event that suppression is diagnosed we would be able to treat it through vision therapy.

Testimonials


  • Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


    Anna P.

  • I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


    June S.

  • Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


    Christine R.

  • Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.


    Lars Wulff

  • Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


    Justin E.

Blog

Atkinson Hyperlegible Font (1)

Atkinson Hyperlegible Font

Named after Braille Institute founder, J. Robert Atkinson, Atkinson Hyperlegible font is great for low vision readers.  In contrast to […]

Read More
displeased-grey-haired-man-suffers-headache-keeps-hands-head-reveal-pain-needs-painkillers-has-migraine-after-noisy-party-wears-formal-shirt-isolated-brown-wall

Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD)

Binocular vision refers to the ability of the eyes to work together. The term binocular vision dysfunction describes a misalignment […]

Read More
woman-putting-eye-drops-sore-eyes (1)

Contact Lens Discomfort Caused by Dry Eyes

Dry eye symptoms are the main reason that most people stop wearing contact lenses. There are many causes and reasons […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

American Family Vision Clinic Logo

Working Hours

Monday-Thursday
8:30AM-5:00PM

Friday
8:30AM-3:00PM

Saturday-Sunday
Closed

Location
400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
Fax
(360) 459-1097
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
Cancellation Policy
For Patients
appointment
Call Us
Referrals
Assessments
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram