Have you been told that you have bad sinus problems resulting in sinus headaches, but nothing shows up on a scan of your sinuses? If this is the case for you, your sinuses may not be the issue at all; it could be your eyes. Unfortunately, chronic headaches are often misdiagnosed as a sinus issue by doctors who don’t have the training to recognize signs of binocular vision dysfunction.
Sinus Headaches vs. BVD
Sinus headaches occur when the sinuses become inflamed due to an infection or allergies. When this happens, the sinuses swell and produce more mucus, which blocks the channels that drain them and causes a buildup of pressure. This is what causes pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of your nose. This pain is often accompanied by a fever, runny nose, facial swelling and a feeling of fullness in the ears.
Binocular vision dysfunction, on the other hand, happens when the eyes are misaligned. As the brain works to correct this misalignment, the eye muscles become strained and overworked, leading to a myriad of symptoms ranging from dizziness and nausea to motion sickness, sensitivity to light, and drifting to the side as you walk. The symptoms are often exacerbated when you stand up too quickly, move your head from side to side, drive around curves, ride in the passenger seat, and walk through large, open spaces with high ceilings such as airports, grocery stores or malls.
A Simple Test
Next time you feel pressure around your eyes that you think is a sinus headache, do this little test. Rate the headache on a scale of one to 10, one being very mild and 10 being the worst headache you’ve ever had. Then cover one eye and relax while looking at an object in the distance. Do this for five minutes. After the five minutes are up, rate your headache again. If your pain has significantly decreased, then there’s a good likelihood that a binocular vision problem is causing your headaches.
If you suffer from sinus headaches, but also experience other symptoms such as dizziness or double vision, please call the Neuro Visual Center of New York at (516) 224-4888 to set up an appointment for a neurovisual evaluation.