Eye strain as part of dizziness

Most of our patient report some visual symptoms associated with dizziness. The pathways for this are known and well-established. The inner ear (or vestibular system) has strong and direct connections to the eyes to produce the vestibular-ocular reflex (VOR). The VOR is what allows you to hold your gaze steady on an object and move your head. Additionally, we know that the top 2 levels of your cervical spine input directly into the visual system to help control eye-head motion. If there is an impairment in either of these systems, visual symptoms can result.

However, we also see a lot of patients who have visual symptoms that are probably a result of eye strain. Most people are visually dominant. When the eyes are strained the whole system for balance and orientation in space is put under more stress. As the computers have evolved to be a larger and larger part of our daily life, physical therapist have evolved to address the ergonomics of the work station. Now, it looks like we have to evolve again to address the issues of overworked (and under appreciated) eyes.

Dr. Erik Peper writes an interesting blog post on the epidemic of eye strain and how to treat your eyes with care while you still can. (see below) As in all things, small amounts of change can make a big difference over time. I would encourage everyone to try to give their eyes a much deserved rest for a week and see how they feel.

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