Are you suffering from headaches, dizziness, and nausea? Are your symptoms making it difficult to drive and perform even the smallest of daily tasks? These symptoms and others could be a result of a subtle misalignment between the eyes, a condition known as Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD).
Luckily, there is treatment. Eye doctors that have been trained to treat BVD can prescribe and create specialized glasses with microprism lenses can address BVD and eliminate your symptoms. In fact, the average vision therapy patient will notice a 50% reduction of symptoms by the end of their first visit with prismatic eyeglasses.
What is BVD and What are Prism Glasses?
People’s brains can normally transform the images seen by each eye into one, singular image when the eyes are aligned. This is known as Binocular Vision. When patients have BVD, it means they have a slight eye misalignment, and their brains struggle to process these two misaligned images into one singular image. The struggling results in headaches, dizziness, and may even result in seeing two separate images (double vision), among other symptoms. Prism glasses contain specialized lenses that correct the misalignment, which eliminates the struggling and significantly reduces or eliminates the occurrence of symptoms.
How Do Prism Glasses Work?
Prism lens glasses bend light in a way that the images seen by your eyes are moved into the position they need to be in, resulting in realigned images. When the images seen by your two eyes are realigned, your brain can transform them into one, singular image. This is why prism glasses are an effective tool for correcting double vision, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and many other uncomfortable symptoms caused by BVD.
What Do Prism Glasses Look Like?
Prism eyewear looks the same as normal reading glasses or any other glasses. The thickness of glasses with prisms, for most patients, is not visibly different from a regular pair of eyeglasses.
Can You Wear Prism Glasses All the Time?
Yes, your prism glasses can be worn all the time. In fact, prescription glasses with prism correction should be worn consistently throughout each day in order to prevent the uncomfortable headaches, dizziness, and other symptoms of BVD from coming back and interfering with your life.
Do Prism Glasses Cause Any Side Effects?
No, prism glasses do not cause any side effects. The goal of prescription prism glasses is to help correct your vision conditions and therefore, get you back to feeling better. However, not all optometrists are trained to prescribe microprism properly, and a prism prescription that is improperly prescribed or improperly made can make your symptoms worse. To ensure you receive maximum relief from your BVD symptoms, make sure your eye doctor is a NeuroVisual Specialist (an optometrist who has taken additional training in treating BVD, and in prescribing and making microprism lenses)
How Do You Know If You Need Prism Glasses?
There are several common symptoms associated with BVD, with headaches and dizziness being two of the most common. Patients with BVD tend to experience headaches in the front of the face or the temples. The dizziness is often described as feeling disoriented or lightheaded.
Other symptoms often accompany the headaches and dizziness, including pain, difficulties with balance and coordination, reading, vision, and psychological symptoms.
- Pain Symptoms: Such as face ache, eye pain or pain with eye movement (symptoms similar to sinus problems, migraines, TMJ problems); neck ache and upper back pain due to a head tilt (similar to spinal misalignment symptoms).
- Balance and Coordination Symptoms: Motion sickness, nausea, poor depth perception, unsteadiness while walking or drifting to one side while walking (“I’ve always been clumsy”), and lack of coordination, with symptoms being similar to those seen in patients with MS, patients who have experienced a stroke, an inner ear disorder, or Meniere’s Disease.
- Reading Symptoms:
Difficulty with concentration (symptoms are similar to those experienced with ADHD), difficulty with reading and comprehension, skipping lines while reading, losing one’s place while reading, words running together while reading (symptoms similar to those seen with a learning disability). Prism reading glasses can reduce or eliminate these symptoms.
- Vision Symptoms:Blurred vision, double or overlapping vision, shadowed vision (symptoms similar to those seen in patients with MS), light sensitivity, difficulty with glare or reflection. For those who suffer from double vision, glasses with prism can help eliminate symptoms.
- Psychological Symptoms: Feeling overwhelmed or anxious when in large contained spaces like malls or big box stores like WalMart, when in crowds or while driving (symptoms similar to those seen in patients with anxiety or agoraphobia).
If you have seen your primary care doctor or specialist and there still has been no cause found for your symptoms, it could be BVD. An eye doctor specializing in BVD can prescribe prism glasses that help eliminate or significantly reduce the above mentioned symptoms.
Prism Glasses: Frequently Asked Questions
Prism lens glasses bend light in a way that the images seen by your eyes are moved into the position they need to be in, resulting in realigned images. When the images are realigned, your brain can easily form one clear singular image, and there is no longer the need for your eye muscles to strain to realign your vision. Your headaches, dizziness, and other symptoms caused by BVD are significantly reduced or eliminated.
The adjustment period to prism lenses is very short, usually from two to three days. Our team at Vision Specialists of Michigan will adjust the lenses until the fit is perfect.
Similar to other glasses, the thickness of prism glasses will depend on your prescription. For example, a high prism prescription might have a more thick lens, whereas a lower prism prescription might have a thinner lens. Most prism prescriptions are low. The opticians at Vision Specialists of Michigan can help you select the eyeglass frame that best fits your facial features while diminishing the appearance of thick lenses.
BVD can be the result of facial asymmetry (where one eye is higher than the other), nerve or eye muscle abnormality (common conditions 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.
When you visit Vision Specialists of Michigan, we will 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 prism lenses. You can expect to spend approximately 3 hours in our office during your visit.
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.
Whether you need prism glasses for women or men, the prism eyeglasses cost will vary depending on the specific prescription needed for the lenses and the number of adjustments needed.
Yes, prism glasses frames for women and men are available. In fact, anyone who suffers from BVD can have prism lenses. Whether you are looking for men’s or women’s eyeglass frames, our team is here to help.