What is Binocular Vision Dysfunction?
The ability to see is a remarkable function of the human body. But debilitating symptoms such as blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, and balance problems can make even simple tasks difficult.
What most people do not realize is that these symptoms could actually be a result of Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD), a condition where the eyes have trouble working together as a team to create one clear image.
Approximately 10% to 20% of the world’s population suffers from BVD. These patients have been everywhere, seen by everyone, and despite their efforts to procure a diagnosis, they are unable to find relief.
Through our work at Mascoutah Eye Care we help to diagnose and treat BVD in patients and bring awareness of the condition to our region’s doctors, optometrists, ophthalmologists, physical and occupational therapists, and other health care providers who are essentially unaware of this condition.
What is BVD?
In people with normal binocular vision, eyes work in tandem and are perfectly in sync at all times to send one clear focused picture to the brain. However, in those with Binocular Vision Dysfunction, the eyes are misaligned and each sends a different image to the brain. This makes it difficult for them to see one clear image.
When the misalignment is severe, it causes double vision. However, in most cases, the misalignment is very subtle, making it all the more difficult to identify. Even when the misalignment is small and physically unnoticeable, the symptoms can be debilitating.
Causes of BVD
BVD can be caused by several different factors. Some people experience BVD due to facial asymmetry, where one eye is physically higher than the other. It can also be caused by a nerve or eye muscle abnormality, which is something many people are born with. As people with these abnormalities get older, the eye muscles become even more strained from trying to constantly realign the image they are sending to the brain, which further exacerbates uncomfortable BVD symptoms.
BVD can also develop as a result of a stroke, brain injury, or similar neurological disorder. It can manifest at any time, with symptoms usually developing around 40 years of age.
Symptoms of BVD
The symptoms of BVD can interfere with a patient’s ability to function, and can get in the way of doing basic tasks, such as driving a car or reading. This can lead to disorientation and anxiety. Essentially, BVD can severely negatively impact their quality of life.
Patients with BVD experience many or all of the following symptoms:
- Neck ache/head tilt
- Double vision
- Sensitivity to light/glare
- Reading difficulties
- Motion sickness and/or nausea
- Balance Problems
- Fatigue while reading
- Shadowed/overlapping/blurred vision
- Feeling overwhelmed in crowds/large spaces
- Skipping lines/losing one’s place while reading
- Closing/covering one eye to make it easier to see
BVD is also frequently misdiagnosed as one or more of the following conditions:
- ADD / ADHD
- Anxiety / Panic disorders
- Persistent Post-Concussive symptoms
- Cervical misalignment
- Meniere’s Disease
- BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
- Psychogenic dizziness / Chronic Subjective Dizziness
- PPPD (Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness)
- Vestibular Migraine / Migraine Associated Vertigo (MAV)
- MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
- Reading & learning disabilities
- Sinus problems
- TMJ disorders
The Patient Experience
While at least 10% to 20% of the population suffers from Binocular Vision Dysfunction, almost no one knows about this condition. To make matters more difficult, many people suffering from BVD have a small amount of vision misalignment not found on a routine eye exam.
Fortunately, with our micro-prism lenses, patients are immediately able to regain their quality of life. Watch our video to learn how individuals found relief from their symptoms.
“The dizziness and anxiety began eight years ago and became progressively worse as time went by. The doctors wanted to revoke my driver’s license, but I need to drive for my work. My new micro-prism lenses made an immediate difference. I can now drive with confidence. The quality of my life is back to where it should be.” – Keith
Treatment for BVD
Our doctors at Heights Eye Center have trained in the pioneering work of diagnosing and treating Binocular Vision Dysfunction. In addition to the standard eye examination, our compassionate doctors utilize a comprehensive NeuroVisual Examination to determine the extent of a patient’s misalignment and use these results to prescribe specialized aligning lenses. These micro-prism lenses realign the images to create one clear image, eliminating the eyes’ struggle to do so.
Our micro-prism lenses help patients to feel noticeably better immediately. In fact, the average patient will notice a 50% reduction of symptoms by the end of their first visit. Over the next several visits, the aligning lenses are fine-tuned and continue to improve and eliminate BVD symptoms.
In the past, BVD was difficult to identify, as the standard vision tests are not sensitive enough to find the small amounts of misalignment causing BVD. And of course, not everyone with the aforementioned symptoms will have BVD. We use a specialized screening method to accurately detect this condition.
We can treat Binocular Vision Dysfunction, along with many other vision impairments, thus ensuring that the patient sees clearly, effectively, and is significantly relieved from symptoms.
Our screening method involves two parts: Our Screening Questionnaire, which helps clarify who might benefit from evaluation and care, and our Diagnostic Method, which is where we identify the very small amounts of misalignment requiring treatment with specialized micro-prism lenses.
Dr. James Aversa is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of Binocular Vision Dysfunction and has trained under the founder of NeuroVisual Medicine, Dr. Debby Feinberg of the NeuroVisual Medicine Institute in Michigan. Dr. Feinberg and her colleagues have treated more than 10,000 national and international patients who have been diagnosed with this condition.
The network of medical professionals who refer patients to us has contributed to our understanding of Binocular Vision Dysfunction. Our collective research has taught us that oftentimes, even the most experienced doctors attempt to treat patients’ symptoms rather than the actual cause—which could very likely be the patient’s eyes. This leads patients to be misdiagnosed and prescribed medications that do not help, and undergo therapies that do not bring relief.
When treated with our realigning micro-prism lenses, the average patient experiences an 80% reduction of symptoms by the end of treatment.
Learn what doctors have to say about BVD in our video.
Mascoutah Eye Care serves patients from Mascoutah, Belleville, O'Fallon, and Edwardsville all throughout Illinois.