Binocular vision refers to the ability of our two eyes to work together to create a single, three-dimensional image of the world around us. When we look at an object, both eyes send slightly different images to the brain, which then combines them into a single, clear image with depth and dimension. However, for some people, this process doesn't work as smoothly as it should, leading to what are known as binocular vision problems, or binocular vision dysfunction
Binocular vision problems can affect people of all ages, but they are especially common in children and individuals who have had concussions or other head injuries. What is most important to know is that binocular vision dysfunction may not cause any difficulties until one has read, or done a visual activity, for 5 or more minutes.
Headache or head pain/pressure
Face ache / “sinus” pain
Eye pain or pain with eye movements
Neck ache, upper back and shoulder pain due to a head tilt
Off balanced/unsteadiness with walking/slower gait
Lack of coordination
Drifting to one side while walking – bumping into the person next to them; walks into door frames and furniture, often with the same side of the body
Difficulty walking down grocery aisle
Feeling overwhelmed or anxious in crowds
Feeling overwhelmed or anxious in large, contained spaces with tall ceilings like malls or big box stores
Covering one eye when doing visual tasks
Eye strain or fatigue
Difficulty with depth perception
Poor eye-hand coordination
Problems with balance and spatial awareness
Difficulty with concentration / comprehension
Fatigue while reading
Skipping lines while reading
Using a line guide (finger, ruler, envelope) to maintain one’s place while reading
Words running together
Losing one’s place while reading
Trouble stopping in time due to difficulty estimating distances
Driving causing anxiety, especially on the freeway, bridges or driving alongside semi-trucks
Feeling uneasy due to the cars moving around you or towards you
Binocular vision dysfunctions can have a significant impact on our lives and the lives of children. Some of the ways binocular vision problems can impact our lives include:
Difficulty with reading and writing
Binocular vision problems can make it difficult to read and write. Individuals with binocular vision problems may have trouble tracking lines of text, lose their place while reading, or experience headaches or eye strain while reading or writing.
Poor performance in sports and other activities
Binocular vision problems can also make it difficult to participate in sports or other activities that require good hand-eye coordination and depth perception. Children with binocular vision problems may struggle with catching or hitting a ball, riding a bike, or navigating a playground.
Social and emotional issues
Children with binocular vision problems may also experience social and emotional issues as a result of their vision difficulties. They often think everyone sees the same way they do and may become frustrated or discouraged by their struggles with reading or participating in activities, leading to low self-esteem or anxiety.
In some cases, binocular vision problems can lead to behavioral problems in children. Children who are struggling with vision may avoid reading or schoolwork. When forced to read or do schoolwork they can become irritable or easily distracted, leading to problems with attention or behavior in school or at home.
Overall, the impact of binocular vision problems can be significant, affecting not just vision but also many other areas of a child's life. That's why it's so important to detect and treat binocular vision problems early to ensure that children are able to thrive and succeed.
Binocular vision problems can often be successfully treated with a variety of interventions, including:
Vision therapy is a type of physical therapy for the eyes that is designed to improve how the eyes and brain work together. It involves a series of exercises and activities that are tailored to the individual needs of the patient and can be conducted in-office or at home. Vision Therapy is often the first line of treatment for binocular vision problems.
Eyeglasses or contact lenses
In some cases, special eyeglasses or contact lenses may be prescribed to aid in the correction of binocular vision problems. These therapeutic lenses can sometimes help improve focusing and eye coordination.
If you or your child are experiencing any of the symptoms of binocular vision problems, it's important to take action and seek treatment as soon as possible. By addressing these issues early on, you can help prevent long-term vision problems.
Don't wait – contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step to finding out if you or your child has a correctable binocular vision problem.