Our sense of sight is very complex, with multiple components that have to be perfectly in sync for our eyes to function correctly. One of these is the alignment of the eyes. If the eyes aren’t perfectly coordinated and exactly aligned both horizontally and vertically, they won’t be able to properly perform the intricate tasks of scanning, tracking and focusing on objects.
A vertical misalignment of the eyes, no matter how slight, results in the images projected on the retina of each eye being on a slightly different level with each other. The consequence of this is that you’ll see two images rather than one. The interesting thing is, most people don’t even realize this because the brain automatically works to correct the misalignment. Unfortunately, in the process, the eye muscles become tired and overexerted, which can result in an eye muscle strain condition known as vertical heterophoria (VH). There are a number of unpleasant symptoms that are signs of VH and, for many patients, neck pain is at the top of the list.
How VH Affects the Neck
Many patients with VH go to a massage therapist or to the chiropractor for weekly adjustments. While the relief felt after these treatments is real, it’s also temporary. This is because people with VH subconsciously tilt their head to try to align the retinal images. This constant head tilt is one of the mechanisms our brain uses to avoid double vision. Double vision just isn’t functional, which is why our brains work so hard to “fix” it. In the process, however, the persistent head tilt puts strain on the neck and upper back muscles, throwing the spine out of alignment and causing the symptoms of neck, shoulder and back pain.
Treating VH Symptoms With Prismatic Lenses
At the Neuro Visual Center of New York, our doctors provide effective treatment for the symptoms of VH and other binocular vision disorders through the use of aligning prismatic lenses. Once the eyes are again aligned, the head tilt will resolve itself. Treatments for the neck and back pain are then much more effective because the neck muscles are not in a constant state of contraction. Once again, we see that the symptoms of vertical heterophoria are more than meets the eye!
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms that are consistent with VH, give the specialists at the Neuro Visual Center of New York a call at (516) 224-4888. Let us help you find relief from your neck pain.