Visual-Vestibular Rehabilitation

Dizziness, vertigo, motion sickness, and balance problems are frequently reported by patients when seeing their primary care physician.

Patients with these symptoms are commonly referred for vestibular therapy. Yet many of these patients suffer from visual-vestibular dysfunction, and vestibular therapy alone is often not enough.

Vision provides input to our vestibular system from the outside world which affects our ability to process movement, understand our orientation and position in space, as well as maintain our balance. When there is a mismatch, or conflict, in information from different sensory systems such as visual and vestibular, the result is visual-vestibular dysfunction.

From VeDA:

A common complaint for people with vestibular disorders is that they have difficulty with their vision. They may experience problems focusing on an object or perceive that objects are moving from side to side or revolving around them (vertigo). They may see their visual field jiggle or bounce during head motion (oscillopsia) or have double vision (diplo­pia). When they hold their heads still, these visual instability problems might resolve.

Many people with vestibular disorders consult an eye care professional due to their vision-related symptoms. The typical eye examination is done while the patient’s head is resting against a head rest, thereby reducing the head motion, which may mask the visual symptoms. With a vestibular disorder, the eyes may not be the primary cause of the problem; therefore the typical eye exam will not identify any eye pathology or routine optical problems that would explain the patient’s reported symptoms.

Visual-vestibular dysfunction is quite complex. The visual system and the vestibular system are closely connected. It has been found that concurrent therapies to treat both the visual system deficits (neuro-optometric vision therapy) as well as the vestibular system deficits (vestibular therapy) is more effective than vestibular therapy alone.


Visual-Vestibular Dysfunction Symptoms and Treatment

girl holding up help sign

Visual-vestibular dysfunction symptoms can manifest in a variety of ways and treatment can be complex.

Symptoms of visual-vestibular dysfunction can include:

  • Balance problems
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Low tolerance for visual stimuli
  • Migraines
  • Motion sickness
  • Poor depth perception
  • Vertigo 

VeDA says:

Vestibular physical therapy incorporates exercises with the goal to improve gaze and gait instability, reduce head motion-induced dizziness, reduce fall risk, and improve fitness.

Optometric therapies (Neuro-optometric Rehabilitation) are an important component of treat­ment—especially if an underlying focusing, ocular mal-alignment, visual acuity, or visual processing problem is suspected in addition to the vestibular disorder.

At Advanced Vision Therapy Center we routinely work with other sub-specialists, such as vestibular therapists. This allows our team of licensed experts to provide neuro-optometric vision therapy, while the vestibular therapist provides concurrent care within their area of specialty.  

Advanced Vision Therapy Center is recognized as the Northwest's premier vision therapy clinic. If you suspect visual-vestibular dysfunction, why wait? 

You have questions. We have answers. 

Give us a call today to schedule an evaluation. No referral necessary. We are accepting new patients.

Posted by Advanced Vision Therapy Center at 12/30/2021 10:47:00 AM
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