Have you ever wondered why, despite having two eyes, you only see one image? This is called binocular vision. Our brain is so intricate and complex that it’s able to turn two separate images into one clear image. In order for this to occur, it’s essential for the eyes to be in perfect alignment. In people who have good binocular vision, the eyes work in tandem and are perfectly in sync at all times, which allows them to send one clear, focused picture to the brain.
But when the eyes do not work smoothly together and are not perfectly synchronized, this is called Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD). People with BVD struggle to see one clear image. This leads to discomfort such as double-vision, headaches, dizziness, even problems reading.
For people who have BVD, their eyes are not in alignment (not in sync) so their eyes will transmit two images to the brain that are in slightly different positions to one another. The brain won’t accept this situation and responds by forcing the eye aligning muscles to fix the problem by realigning the eyes. The realignment is only temporary and misalignment then recurs, which is followed closely by realignment. This directly affects our ability to read, process and understand information. When our two eyes do not team together to make a single image, symptoms like double vision, headaches, poor depth perception, and tired or sore eyes may occur. These symptoms can significantly handicap one’s reading and learning abilities, and almost all other activities of daily living.
Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is a common condition which causes a difficulty or inability to effectively converge or align both eyes together to perform near oriented visual tasks, like reading or computer work. Office based vision therapy helps individuals restore normal coordination and teamwork of the two eyes (binocular vision). Symptoms often include difficulty reading and concentrating on reading tasks, avoidance of near work, ADD and ADHD characteristics, double-vision (overlapping words) while reading, eyestrain, headaches and rubbing or closing of one eye while reading. This extra effort can lead to a number of frustrating symptoms that interfere with the ability to read smoothly and can cause schoolwork to suffer or become erratic.
CI doesn’t go away with age. The brain develops some bad habits to avoid the confusion of double-vision over time, but the real problem remains. As technology continues to evolve, our adult work demands increase as most jobs are centered around daily computer work. Adults with CI experience tired eyes and headaches at work, which reduces job performance and makes work unbearable at times. Thankfully, The Vision Therapy Institute can correct CI for patients of all ages!
In 2008, the National Eye Institute released the results of a major multi-center research study designed to look at multiple methods of treatment for convergence insufficiency. Based on scientific evidence, the research shows that office-based vision therapy is the most effective and consistent treatment for CI when compared to all other methods, like an exclusively home therapy approach. (Click here to read the study.) To simply “wait and see” could be a dangerous course. This condition usually worsens over time and treatment should be started early.
After treatment, our patients’ gain enhanced reading and learning abilities allowing them to lead more productive lives.
Vertical heterophoria (VH) is a type of Binocular Vision Disorder that occurs when the eyes are misaligned and can lead to a number of symptoms that may not immediately connect with vision. VH means that the line of sight from one eye is higher than the line of sight from the other eye. If the two eyes do not line up together, either horizontally like in Convergence Insufficiency (side to side) or vertically like in VH (up and down), it is hard to put the two different pictures together in order to see one unified image to perceive depth.
A VH misalignment, which can be very small, leads to the straining and overuse of the eye muscles. This leads to the symptoms of BVD such as headaches and dizziness. Patients are often misdiagnosed as having vertigo and migraine disorder and can be easily treated with optometric vision therapy or glasses with prism (a special type of lens.)