Vertigo and Dizziness Could Be Signs of a Vision Problem
Car sickness/motion sickness is relatively common in children and women1. Most of the advice that you find on the internet relate to self-help or medication to decrease symptoms. However, an overlooked cause of these symptoms could be undiagnosed vision problems, known as vergence disorders.
What’s a vergence disorder?
Vergence is the technical word for the co-ordinated interaction between the two eyes that keeps them lined up on whatever you want to look at, also known as “eye-teaming” or “convergence”. It is commonly known to be related to 3D vision, but a growing body of literature is finding links between vergence disorders, postural instability and vertigo like symptoms2.
Symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, and nausea are likely to occur due to a mismatch between balance signals (part of the vestibular system) and information from the visual system.
It can affect both children and adults. Younger children are more prone as older children can develop better vergence control as they mature. Sufferers may also exhibit other symptoms like distractibility, poor concentration, clumsiness and difficulties with reading fluency as the vergence disorder can impact on how the eyes are used for learning, reading, and studying.
How Is It Treated?
The specific treatment of vertigo symptoms by treating a vision problem needs further research to understand what approaches might the most suitable, and how much improvement might be expected. It may also require co-ordinated treatment with a physiotherapist if vestibular issues are present. If vergence problems are found and appear to exacerbate the symptoms, then your optometrists might discuss vision training or vision therapy.
- http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Motion-Sickness.htm. Accessed 02/07/2013
- Lions C, Bui-Quoc E, Bucci MP. Postural control in strabismic children versus non strabismic age-matched children. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2013 May 9.