It’s a huge understatement to say that pregnancy is stressful. Along with bodily discomfort, women have to contend with the hormonal and emotional changes that come along with pregnancy. With all the stress that’s put on an expectant mother’s body, it’s not surprising that vision problems often arise as a result, similar to how many people start having symptoms when they hit middle age.
Many women will decompensate during the stress of pregnancy or childbirth. Misalignments that they were able to easily overcome before now become more difficult for the eye muscles to compensate for. Such was the case with one of my recent patients.
‘I woke up one morning and the world was spinning!’
I’ve heard this complaint many times, frequently from someone who’s pregnant or has just given birth. The story of a woman I treated recently is very typical.
L. was so happy after finally having a baby girl after two sons. Everything was perfect, until one morning shortly after coming home with her baby, she woke up to a world that was spinning. Hoping to find treatment for dizziness, she went to her primary care doctor, who sent her to the ENT and then on to a neurologist. All MRIs came out fine. She was then told that she had postpartum depression. When she reported that she didn’t feel depressed at all, merely dizzy, her doctors just dismissed her concerns, not even trying to provide alternate treatment.
At this point, L. started looking for answers on her own. During her search, she happened upon the website for the Vision Specialists of Michigan, and from there followed the link to me, the doctor closest to her in the country. After examining her, it turned out that she had a decompensated phoria due to the stress of the birth. This means that her eyes were always slightly misaligned, but her brain had previously been able to take the two images from the eyes and fuse them together as one. The stress of giving birth is probably what took that ability away.
Her slightly vertically misaligned eyes led to her seeing a ghost image, because the images weren’t corresponding at the same points on her retinas. The eye muscles were trying to fuse the images, sending the brain signals of movement. However, without the inner ear signaling movement, dizziness was the result. As soon as we realigned her eyes, the dizziness went away. No drugs, no therapy, just glasses!
New Symptoms? Call for an Appointment
If you’re pregnant or have recently given birth, and are experiencing vision problems such as dizziness or blurred vision that weren’t there before, it’s time to get checked out at the Neuro Visual Center of New York. Give us a call at (516) 224-4888 to schedule an appointment and find out more about decompensation during pregnancy.