She believed she could help him, so he came into the office for an exam. “I thought that if I put prisms in his glasses, it might alleviate his strain,” she said. Her hunch proved to be right.
Twelve years after she treated Rosner, he came to her with an idea.
“As an ENT, Arthur sees a lot of dizzy patients because dizziness is typically an inner-ear problem,” Debby said. “He wasn’t able to help some of them, so he tried sending those patients to other eye doctors because he thought they might suffer from VH as he does.”
At first, he resisted sending the patients to Debby because they are related, but the other eye doctors he sent them to were unable to help.
“He explained to me that these patients sounded like he did before he started wearing prism glasses, and he thought I could help them as I helped him 12 years ago,” she said. “I was doubtful, but I agreed to see a few.”
She found she was able to help most of the patients Arthur sent her. As she saw more and more patients with VH, her husband, emergency physician Dr. Mark Rosner, conducted research that led him to discover Raymond Roy. In the 1950s, Roy had an insight as to how prisms could help people with VH. “For whatever reason, no one picked up on his work at the time,” Mark said.
Using the experience of the Feinberg’s and Dubin in treating VH plus information Mark discovered when researching, the team at Vision Specialists of Michigan in Bloomfield Hills perfected the process of using prisms to treat patients with VH. Since 1995, they have treated more than 7,000 VH patients who, on average, get 70 to 80 percent better.
Manifestation: “Our patients come to us with medical histories full of MRIs and visits to various kinds of doctors,” Paul Feinberg said. This is because the symptoms VH presents do not appear to be eye-related when you first look at them; typically, when someone suffers from dizziness or anxiety their first instinct is not that they have an eye problem.
Dizziness can cause anxiety, which can lead to agoraphobia. “People with VH can get very overwhelmed in large, open, busy spaces such as a mall or stores like Home Depot,” Debby explained. “Some also feel too anxious to drive.”
Another effect of VH is that kids are sometimes tagged as having attention deficit disorder because they have trouble reading. “If a kid is in second grade and he’s told to read something in class,” Mark said, “he’s not going to sit still for very long if he literally can’t do what he’s told.”
Reading presents a challenge because the eyes view images on two different levels, making skipping lines and losing one’s place common.
People may be born with VH, as it does run in families, but it also can develop as a result of asymmetry in the face or trauma to the head, in addition to other factors.