Lately, I’ve been travelling a lot and doing a lot of reading. Everything I’ve been learning about the plasticity of the human brain has truly been fascinating. We’re very complex organisms, and we’re only beginning to understand how the brain guides the whole body. None of our bodily systems function in isolation.
When it comes to balance, for example, the visual and vestibular systems are interconnected, working together in a complex dance to keep the body centered. Most of the time, balance is so effortless for us that we don’t even think about it. At times, however, one of these systems malfunctions, which can cause headaches, double vision symptoms and vertigo.
Case In Point
Today, I had a very good case, a scenario that I’ve heard many times before. This gentleman woke up one morning and had a terrible case of vertigo. He had the Epley maneuver performed, which seemed to help the vertigo, but he was left with a feeling of lightheadedness and mild headache. These symptoms increased dramatically upon walking, especially when entering a mall or big box store.
How Vertical Heterophoria Interrupts the Connection
This patient had a very clear case of vertical heterophoria. VH occurs when the eyes are misaligned, and the brain works to correct this problem and merge the two misaligned images into one. As a result, the eye muscles work overtime and become sore and shaky. This in turn causes the images you see to tremble, making it seem as if the world around you is moving. This phenomenon affects balance and causes blurred vision, dizziness, and even vertigo, like our patient experienced.
Our bodies rely on the inner ear, eyes, joints and muscles all working together to maintain balance, so even though the vestibular (inner ear) problem was able to be treated, the patient continued having issues because there was still an underlying visual component that needed to be addressed: a very slight vertical misalignment with a very subtle head tilt. When the proper correction was found through the use of aligning prismatic lenses, his symptoms decreased dramatically within 20 minutes, and he once again felt grounded while he was walking. Again, we see how the vestibular and visual systems are connected.
The Power of Aligning Prismatic Lenses
This case was a wonderful example of the power of aligning lenses! With our specialized equipment and the expertise of our doctors, we’re able to offer patients hope and a solution to their problems. If you or a loved one are having balance issues, contact the Neuro Visual Center of New York at (516) 224-4888 to get tested or learn more about our specialized treatment options.