Do you suffer from persistent headaches and dizziness? These symptoms can affect both children and adults and can drastically impact your quality of life. Whether you experience sudden headaches and dizziness or constant headache and dizzy feelings, there is treatment.
Many people do not realize that the cause of their symptoms could actually be a slight misalignment between their eyes, a condition known as Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD). For adults and children who have a misalignment between their eyes, it is very difficult for their eyes to send one clear image to their brain, which results in frequent headaches and dizziness.
Why Do I Have a Headache and Feel Dizzy?
Our vision enables us to see one clear image because our brain is able to transform two separate images into a single image, which is known as binocular vision. But in the case of people with BVD (patients who have a slight misalignment between their eyes, therefore their eyes are out of sync with one another), it’s difficult for the brain to process those two separate images and create one clear image.
The brain responds to the misalignment by forcing the eye muscles to realign the eyes. But this realignment cannot be sustained and the misalignment occurs again, resulting in a cycle of misalignment and realignment. The more this happens, the more uncomfortable the chronic headache and dizziness become.
Headaches occur when we experience discomfort on our head, face, or back of the neck. Headaches due to BVD are often confused with other diagnoses including:
- Migraines: Pain from migraines can be debilitating. Migraines are categorized by severe pain, light and sound sensitivity, and migraines and nausea are often experienced together. Migraine and upset stomach can also occur simultaneously. When you suffer from vision misalignment, your eye muscles are strained, and struggle to see clearly throughout the day. The pain from your eye muscles, as they constantly battle to keep your vision in alignment might cause the same discomfort as migraines, sometimes including a severe headache and dizzy feeling.
- Atypical Migraines: Usually, a migraine provides its sufferer with a visual signal alerting them to the oncoming discomfort, while atypical migraines frequently start with the throbbing head pain. Your atypical migraine symptoms might actually be the result of a vision misalignment. By treating the vision misalignment, we can provide you with the relief you need from your continuous headache and dizziness.
- Sinus Headaches: With the overuse and overexertion of your eye muscles constantly attempting to realign your eyesight, the result can be the same discomfort and pain as a sinus headache. By treating the vision misalignment, we relieve the constant pressure within your face and provide you with long-term sinus headache relief.
- Muscle Tension Headaches: Your eye muscles are constantly being strained as your eyes attempt to realign themselves and create one clear image. This relentless stress and overuse of your eye muscles feel the same as a muscle tension headache for many of our patients. By eliminating this constant overuse of your eye muscles, we provide you with muscle tension headache relief.
Common Symptoms for Adults with Binocular Vision Dysfunction
While the symptoms of headaches and dizziness can seem overwhelming enough, there are several other symptoms associated with BVD in adults, which typically include the below. Some individuals experience all of these symptoms, while others experience only a few:
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty with balance / unsteady walking
- Pain in the neck
- Frequent head tilt
- Motion sickness
- Difficulty reading and learning
It’s also common for adults to report having “really bad headache and dizziness,” feeling “dizzy with a headache,” as well as having a “slight headache and dizziness.” They often experience headaches and dizziness for days.
Headaches and Dizziness in Children
Headaches and dizziness with BVD also affect children. When children regularly experience headaches and dizziness, it can result in them missing school and therefore delaying their reading and learning. It could also lead to a misdiagnosis of ADD or ADHD.
If your child has BVD, the symptoms will vary depending on their age.
For children ages 4 to 8-years-old, common behaviors and symptoms of Binocular Vision Dysfunction can include:
- Poor handwriting (poor spacing, writing letters too big or small)
- Difficulty reading
- Avoiding activities with crowds such as shopping
- Playing with toys very close to their face
- Sitting close to the TV
- Difficulty identifying shapes, colors and numbers that are age-appropriate
- Difficulty seeing the class board
- Frequently bumping into objects
- Difficulty catching balls
- Stomach aches and headaches at school or away from home
- Light sensitivity
- Covering one eye to see
- Anxiety in public places
- Frequent squinting in order to see
For children ages 9 to 13-years-old, common behaviors and symptoms of Binocular Vision Dysfunction can include:
- Repeatedly bumping into things while
- Having difficulty completing homework due to headaches and nausea
- Repeatedly reading the same things over and over / difficulty with reading comprehension
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- Closing one eye to make it easier to see
- Blurred vision when using the computer
- Blurred vision or tired eyes when looking at the blackboard in class
- Verbal skills that are ahead of reading skills
- Frequent blinking
How Can I Stop Dizziness and Headaches?
Feeling dizzy with a headache is not fun and can truly affect your life. But for those suffering from headaches and dizziness as a result of BVD, there is treatment. At Vision Specialists of Michigan, our micro-prism lenses correct the misalignment between your eyes. Specifically, our lenses bend light in a way that the image seen by your eye is moved into the position it needs to be in – this results in the image becoming realigned, and your headaches and dizziness, as well as other symptoms, are significantly reduced or eliminated. The average patient will notice a 50 percent reduction of symptoms by the end of their first visit.
With the micro-prism lenses helping your eyes to work together to create one clear image, there’s no longer a constant struggle to realign vision. Ultimately, the glasses eliminate the need for your eye muscles to strain, resulting in marked relief from dizziness, headaches, nausea, and any other symptoms related to BVD.
Headache and Dizziness Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, many patients with BVD experience difficulty with driving. This is because two of the most common symptoms associated with the condition are headaches and dizziness, which alters your depth perception, balance, and equilibrium, essentially making it difficult to see the road, signage, and nearby cars. Many people also experience anxiety while driving on highways.
The causes of headache and dizziness can be a result of a number of factors, but when you have tried everything and still experience symptoms, it could be your eyes. Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD) is a result of there being a misalignment between our eyes. It’s important to note this misalignment can be very subtle. When this happens, it can be very difficult for our eyes to send one clear image to our brain, ultimately resulting in strained eye muscles that cause headaches and dizziness (in addition to other symptoms).
BVD can be the result of your facial asymmetry (where one eye is higher than the other), nerve or eye muscle abnormality (a common condition many people are born with), or it can develop as a result of stroke, brain injury, concussion, or a similar neurological disorder.
To determine if your symptoms are the result of Binocular Vision Dysfunction, we suggest you first see your primary care physician or specialist to rule out other causes for your symptoms. If no cause is found for the symptoms, then BVD might be the issue.
- We ask you to fill out a specialized questionnaire designed to screen for those who might have BVD.
- You will be asked to complete a detailed Health History form.
- An eye exam is performed to determine the need for correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism (a common imperfection in the eye’s curvature).
- A specialized exam is performed (NeuroVisual Evaluation) to determine if visual misalignment is present.
- If diagnosed with BVD, you will be fitted with a trial version of your new prescription. Most people notice a significant improvement in their symptoms within just a few minutes of putting on the trial lenses.
You can expect to spend approximately 3 hours in our office during your visit.