People who suffer from anxiety disorders are regularly plagued by fear, to the point that they start avoiding places or situations that may trigger an anxiety attack. They start withdrawing from society, and if left unchecked, anxiety can make them afraid to even leave home. According to the American Psychiatric Association, anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders, and affect roughly 30% of the adult population at one time or another in their lives. Medications exist to treat these disorders, but what if your anxiety is really being caused by something else?
The Connection Between Vertical Heterophoria and Anxiety
Vertical heterophoria (VH) is one manifestation of an eye disorder known as binocular vision dysfunction, or BVD. VH is caused by a misalignment of the eyes. Even a slight misalignment can overwork the eye muscles and cause eye strain, which then leads to headaches and dizziness.
For people who don’t know they are suffering from VH, this unexplained dizziness can turn their world upside down. When something as simple as walking becomes a source of fear and apprehension, anxiety quickly sets in. Too often in these cases, the original source of the anxiety is overlooked and anxiety medications are prescribed, which can further hamper the ability of the eye muscle to function correctly. An ongoing cycle of dizziness and anxiety is created.
Could You Have Vertical Heterophoria?
If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and suffer from panic attacks when in open, crowded spaces with high ceilings, such as malls and supermarkets, you may actually be experiencing symptoms of visual vertigo stemming from your visual system. These panic attacks are caused by an overload of visual stimuli, which those with VH aren’t able to process correctly. These sensations can also come when riding on the passenger’s side of a car or rounding a sharp curve while driving, making this condition particularly frightening, anxiety-inducing and even dangerous.
If you have been experiencing anxiety and stress caused by unexplained dizziness or panic attacks, a neurovisual examination performed by Dr. Cheryl Berger Israeloff or one of her associates at the Neuro Visual Center of New York will help determine whether you need vertigo treatment or some other form of intervention. Start out by filling out the BVD questionnaire on our website, and then give us a call at (516) 224-4888 to schedule an appointment. We can get your eyes realigned and your life back on track.