Binocular vision dysfunction, or BVD, is caused by a subtle misalignment of the eyes, resulting in a host of uncomfortable symptoms as the eyes struggle to produce clear vision. Some patients deal with symptoms of BVD for many years without getting properly diagnosed, despite being “treated” by many healthcare professionals. Because a standard eye exam may not catch BVD, countless children and adults unknowingly suffer from this condition due to underdiagnoses and misdiagnosis.
Few eye doctors have the right training and equipment to diagnose BVD. It’s important to consult a neuro visual optometrist if you or a loved one experience symptoms, as this is the only professional who can accurately diagnose BVD. With the condition properly diagnosed, the most effective treatment options can be prescribed, reducing or even eliminating severe symptoms.
What Exactly Is BVD?
It’s vital that the eyes are precisely vertically aligned for clear and comfortable vision. When misaligned eyes are unable to transmit two clear images to the brain, the brain rejects the double vision and instead forces the tiny ocular muscles to “fix” the problem. The corrective measures performed by the eye muscles to keep the lines of sight aligned can cause major strain and lead to symptoms that dramatically reduce an individual’s quality of life. Types of BVD include Vertical Heterophoria (VH) and Superior Oblique Palsy (SOP).
Common Symptoms of BVD
Some of the common symptoms of BVD include dizziness, frequent headaches, double vision, nausea and unsteadiness when walking. You may also experience blurred vision, sensitivity to bright light and problems with reading (i.e. skipping lines and words running together).
Because someone with this condition may not experience all of these symptoms, a comprehensive exam by a trained neuro visual optometrist is needed to achieve a proper diagnosis.
The Prevalence of BVD
BVD is more prevalent in children than any ocular disease. In fact, the prevalence is almost 10 times greater than that of ocular disease in children 6 months to 5 years old, and 8.5 times greater in patients 6 to 18 years old.
Causes and Treatment of BVD
BVD may be present from birth. It may be caused by a head trauma sustained while playing sports or other activities, or by a car accident or a fall. It can be the result of a stroke or injuries that damage the nerves to your eye muscles.
The most effective treatment option for a patient with BVD is the use of precise aligning lenses prescribed by a neuro visual optometrist. These lenses have the ability to bend light and coordinate the functioning of the eyes to achieve clear vision. When the brain receives a clear image, the eye muscles are no longer overworked and relax, significantly reducing eye strain, fatigue and other symptoms associated with BVD.
Diagnosing BVD involves a comprehensive eye exam by a qualified neuro visual medicine specialist trained in the Feinberg Method. If you schedule an exam, you will first be asked to fill out a specialized questionnaire to learn more about your medical history and symptoms. The neuro visual evaluation determines if the eyes are properly aligned or not. If you do have BVD, you will be prescribed precise aligning lenses for vision relief.
Important Things to Know About BVD
Want to learn more about BVD? Keep the following points in mind:
● If you suspect that BVD is the reason you feel anxious in crowds and large spaces, you might be right. It can also affect your driving skills by altering your depth perception and sense of balance.
● BVD can be a genetic problem. Some people are born with misaligned eyes and the condition has a tendency to run in families.
● If you’re wondering whether you can wear contact lenses as a treatment option, the answer will depend on your prescription. Contact lenses can be recommended for some patients.
BVD is more common than many realize, but the condition is treatable with proper diagnosis by a neuro visual optometrist. If you are experiencing vision problems or unexplained symptoms such as ongoing headaches and dizziness, don’t hesitate to schedule a comprehensive neuro visual examination right away. Relief could be in sight.
Dr. Cheryl Berger Israeloff of the Neuro Visual Center of New York is a neuro visual optometrist. She is the only doctor in New York State trained in the Feinberg method to treat binocular vision dysfunction. Get updates about the latest developments on BVD from her by visiting the company blog!