Do you feel overwhelmed and anxious when you go shopping in large, crowded spaces? Do you experience dizzy spells in these situations? These symptoms can be very distressing, making you wary of going about your daily business in the world lest you suffer another dizzy spell or anxiety attack. Your overall quality of life can even suffer as a result of these issues. While there are a number of medical conditions that can cause these symptoms, one lesser-known – yet potentially debilitating – condition is an eye strain disorder called vertical heterophoria (VH).
Understanding Vertical Heterophoria
Your eyes are among the most intricate and complex organs in your body. The slightest irregularity with any component of your eyes can cause vision problems and a host of other symptoms. One such component is your intra-ocular muscles, which control the movement of your eyes and are responsible for ensuring that both eyes move in sync with each other.
If your eyes have even the slightest vertical misalignment—whether due to hereditary factors or an injury—these tiny muscles will have to work extra hard to compensate for this irregularity so that you still see one clear picture, rather than double images. Over time, all this hard work takes a toll on your intraocular muscles, causing fatigue and strain. This results in VH, which causes a wide range of symptoms including:
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Anxiety, especially in crowded spaces
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty keeping your place while reading
- Balance issues
- Light sensitivity
The Connection Between VH and Anxiety
Most people would never guess that their anxiety might be due to an issue with their eyes. Your primary physician probably wouldn’t think of VH either, as it’s not a condition that most doctors are trained to spot. Yet one of the most common symptoms among patients with VH is anxiety, especially when spending time in large, crowded places like a mall or grocery store. This is because such situations are especially taxing on your intraocular muscles.
Think about it: in big, crowded spaces your eyes are constantly scanning your surroundings, taking in all the stimuli around you and above you. If you have healthy eyes, you probably aren’t even aware that this is happening—but if you have VH, all the extra work your eye muscles have to do to ensure your misaligned eyes move in sync together becomes that much more taxing. This often manifests as a feeling of anxiety, and can also cause dizziness and headaches.
How We Can Help
If you suffer from anxiety while shopping and have been unable to find effective treatment, we recommend coming to Neuro Visual Center of New York so we can test for VH. We can prescribe special aligning prismatic lenses that will correct the misalignment in your eyes, thus relieving the burden from your intraocular muscles.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call the Neuro Visual Center of New York today at (516) 224-4888.