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Your Eyes & Your Sense of Balance

Balance enables us to know where our bodies are in relation to the environment around us and to maintain a desired position. A properly working balance system enables us to see clearly when moving; assess movement direction and speed; make automatic positional changes to maintain posture and maintain stability in a variety of situations and activities.

Balance is achieved through a complex process that is controlled by three different systems: the vestibular system, the visual system and the somatosensory system (proprioceptors).

Any disruption to the eye-brain connection, including certain eye injuries, diseases, the aging process and certain drugs can affect one or more of these components.

Balance Problems and Vision

People suffering from a balance problem may feel as if they are in motion while standing or sitting still. Moreover, they might find it difficult to walk straight, especially after being in a reclining or sitting position and then suddenly standing up.

Various vision problems can make it difficult to maintain proper balance. These include:

  • Binocular vision dysfunction (eye misalignment)
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Eye teaming or tracking difficulties
  • Hemianopsia (blindness in one half of your visual field)
  • Nystagmus (involuntary and repetitive eye movements)
  • Visual midline shift syndrome

If a visual problem is at the root of your balance problems, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help.

What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a personalized program to develop, improve and refine underdeveloped or lost visual skills. This specialized treatment involves eye exercises, techniques and visual aids (i.e. prisms) that improve your visual processing and perception through the strengthening of the eye-brain connection.

Before starting a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program, you’ll undergo a comprehensive eye exam to assess visual skills and determine whether visual dysfunction is present. Your eye doctor will also check for double or blurry vision, eye coordination and any other ocular condition that could be causing symptoms.

If you or a loved one is feeling off-balance, contact The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision for a consultation. We have the expertise and latest technology to provide you with the top-level care you deserve.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.
Book An Appointment
Call Us 417-238-0229
Learn More About Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
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Common Vestibular Disorders

The vestibular system is made up of structures in the inner ear and pathways in the brain that work together to process information about motion, balance and spatial orientation. This intricate system works closely with the visual system and various muscles in the body to keep us stable and at equilibrium. When disease or injury causes harm to any of these structures or mechanisms that support steadiness, vestibular disorders may result.

A person with a vestibular disorder can experience a host of symptoms, including dizziness, disorientation, blurred vision, anxiety. nausea and a falling sensation. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms or has been diagnosed with a vestibular disorder, contact The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision for a functional vision evaluation. Below, we’ll explain some of the most commonly diagnosed vestibular disorders and how a neuro-optometrist can help.

What Are Some Common Vestibular Disorders?

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is a very common cause of vertigo and causes a person to feel like their head or surroundings are spinning. This type of vertigo is usually caused by a change in head positioning. The most serious consequence of this vestibular disorder is the heightened risk of falling, which can be is treated with eyeglasses and/or vision therapy.

Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection and can bring on symptoms like vertigo, blurry vision, difficulty hearing, ringing in the ears, nausea and feeling lightheaded. Treatment involves either antiviral or antibiotic medications, in addition to other medications to treat the symptoms.

Vestibular Neuritis

Vestibular neuritis occurs when the vestibular nerve becomes inflamed. This nerve is responsible for sending information about balance from the ear to the brain. Vestibular neuritis is often confused with labyrinthitis, with the main difference being that vestibular neuritis does not produce any auditory symptoms, like ringing in the ears. Because this vestibular disorder is caused by an underlying infection, treatment usually involves antibacterial or antiviral medications.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear condition that causes episodic attacks of spinning sensations, ear-ringing, hearing loss and increased ear pressure. The cause of Meniere’s disease isn’t well understood, but episodes can be triggered by a viral infection, allergic reaction, ear fluid buildup, autoimmune response, migraines, or a genetic predisposition. Treatment can include oral medications, various therapies, ear injections and surgery.

How Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy Can Help

Many of the symptoms experienced with these vestibular disorders could be due to a poorly functioning visual system, particularly the level at which the visual system and brain communicate with each other. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy develops and improves communication between the eyes and brain, reducing symptoms of vestibular disorders.

Since maintaining balance and equilibrium depends on the level at which the vestibular system and visual system function as a team, repairing any dysfunction of the visual pathways can help the brain smoothly and efficiently process incoming visual information and integrate it appropriately.

Furthermore, many patients with vestibular disorders complain of visual symptoms like double vision or difficulty focusing, which can then trigger or exacerbate their vestibular symptoms.

A neuro-optometrist can create a customized program to significantly improve the functioning of the visual system, thereby reducing the amount of dizziness, disorientation and vertigo a person may experience.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy involves the use of visual exercises that focus on strengthening the eye-brain connection. Specialized prisms and lenses may be used as well.

A multidisciplinary approach to treating vestibular disorders will bring about the optimum results. Vestibular therapy, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy may all be beneficial for optimal healing.

Begin your journey towards a better quality of life by calling The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision to schedule your functional visual evaluation today.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.
Book An Appointment
Call Us 417-238-0229
Learn More About Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
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What Is Kaleidoscope Vision?

Kaleidoscope vision is not a stand-alone condition, but rather a visual symptom of migraines or conditions like a stroke or brain injury. A person experiencing kaleidoscope vision may perceive their visual field to be fractured, vividly colored, or scrambled — similar to looking through a kaleidoscope.

Visual symptoms like kaleidoscope vision can affect one or both eyes and can occur with or without a headache. In many cases, visual auras precede headaches and migraines.

Episodes of kaleidoscope vision usually last between 10-30 minutes, but can persist up to an hour.

What Can Cause Kaleidoscope Vision?

The most common cause of kaleidoscope vision is an ocular migraine, which is a migraine accompanied by visual symptoms. About 20% of people who suffer from migraines experience some type of aura, also known as a sensory disturbance. Other forms of auras include tingling in the hands or face, muscle weakness, and difficulty speaking.

Visual Symptoms of a Migraine

Kaleidoscope vision is a component of only one type of visual aura. Understanding the other types of visual disturbances that may accompany a migraine can provide more clarity.

The 3 types of visual auras are:

1- Positive Visual Aura – This is when a person sees something that isn’t actually there. For example, a person experiencing a positive aura may see zig-zag or squiggly lines, flashes, stars, or dots. These perceived shapes may be colorful and move around the visual field or grow larger. A visual hallucination is also considered a positive aura.

2- Negative Visual Aura – This is characterized by any loss of vision during a migraine, whether partial or total. With negative auras, one may experience blind spots, loss of peripheral vision, or a brief period of total vision loss.

3- Altered Visual Aura – This type of aura distorts what you see without adding or subtracting anything. For example, one may perceive a straight line as wavy or blurred. Kaleidoscope vision is considered an altered aura.

Other forms of altered aura include misperceiving the size of an object (seeing it as larger or smaller than it really is), distorted distance perception, and distorted or absence of color.

If you experience any of the above symptoms with a migraine, seek medical attention to rule out more serious conditions, like retinal tearing or stroke.

What Causes an Ocular Migraine?

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of ocular migraines, but research suggests that structural abnormalities of the visual cortex could play a role.

Another possible trigger of ocular migraines is visual dysfunction. There are several types of visual dysfunction that can trigger migraines, but a common one is binocular visual dysfunction (BVD). A binocular vision problem refers to a misalignment of the eyes.

Ordinarily, our brain receives an image from each eye and unifies those images to make one clear picture. This can only occur efficiently when the eyes are properly aligned. With BVD, the eyes and brain struggle to form a clear and unified image, which can cause the eyes to become overworked and strained. This high amount of ocular stress can produce painful physical symptoms, like a migraine with aura.

Reducing the amount of stress your eyes endure can lessen the frequency or intensity of migraines, visual auras, and their debilitating symptoms.

How A Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

If you or a loved one is experiencing ocular migraines, the first step is to schedule a functional visual evaluation. By assessing your vision, we can narrow down the cause of your symptoms and determine if visual problems could be amplifying them.

If a visual problem is detected, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman will create a custom neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to strengthen your visual system and correct the problem at its source.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can improve visual skills like eye movement, eye tracking, and eye teaming. This specialized form of vision therapy trains the eyes and brain to work in unison, increasing the efficiency of the visual system.

We may also recommend certain changes, such as rethinking your workspace, that can relieve some eye strain and stress, which may lessen the number of migraines you experience.

Start your journey to healing and call The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision to schedule a functional visual evaluation today.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 417-238-0229
Learn More About Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
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Sensitivity To Light And Your Vision

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Sensitivity To Light And Your Vision

Experiencing sensitivity to light — a condition called photophobia — is a symptom of a multitude of conditions and disorders. In its mildest form, photophobia causes discomfort in the presence of bright light. More severe cases of photophobia can produce eye pain, headaches, nausea, and dizziness even in a dimly lit environment.

Those who are light-sensitive can experience discomfort from any source of light, whether natural or artificial. A photophobic individual may feel the need to blink frequently or close their eyes in bright indoor or outdoor environments.

In some cases, light sensitivity may be caused by a problem with the visual system. That’s where a neuro-optometrist can help. If you suspect you have photophobia or are experiencing eye discomfort in bright or dim settings, call The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision for a functional visual evaluation.

What Can Cause Photophobia?

light sensetive 500

Eye conditions and diseases that can trigger photophobia include:

  • Dry eye
  • Iritis or uveitis
  • Eye burns
  • Glaucoma
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Eye surgery
  • Blepharospasm
  • Keratitis
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Retinal damage
  • Cataracts
  • Dilated pupils

Light sensitivity can also accompany:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Brain injury and concussions
  • Meningitis
  • The use of certain drugs
  • Bacterial and viral infections

The Visual System and Photophobia

All cases of photophobia should be addressed by an eye care professional to rule out an underlying inflammatory condition, infection, or concussion. If that has been done yet symptoms persist, there could be a problem with visual functioning — the way the eyes and visual system function together.

If the connection between the eye’s light-detecting cells and the optical nerve becomes disrupted, it can result in light sensitivity.

Furthermore, if the eyes don’t work in unison with each other or don’t communicate with the brain efficiently, this could strain the visual system and lead to photophobia.

Post-concussion photophobia can stem from the dysfunctional operation of 1 or more of the 4 regions of the brain.

  1. The thalamus filters all visual information that enters the brain. If the brain isn’t sending enough oxygen to the thalamus, which can occur after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the thalamus may not perform efficiently, causing the brain to be overwhelmed by an influx of visual stimuli — such as bright light.
  2. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulates things like breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure, and more. If the ANS becomes dysregulated, it can cause the pupils to overly dilate, letting in too much light for the visual system to process.
  3. A malfunctioning vestibular system can also cause photophobia. This system consists of the inner ear, eyes, and sensory detectors in our limbs to regulate balance and motion. If there is a discrepancy between either of those areas, the brain may compensate by increasing sensitivity in one of the areas — such as the eyes.
  4. The superior colliculus in the midbrain manages visual mapping as well as coordination with other senses. An imbalance in this area can cause vision and other senses to become hypersensitized.

How a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

A functional visual evaluation with Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman will determine if a problem with the visual system is causing or contributing to your photophobia.

If visual dysfunction is detected, we may recommend a personalized neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to treat the underlying cause of your symptoms. This specialized form of therapy involves the use of various filters and prisms, as well as visual exercises to strengthen the eye-brain connection.

If you or a loved one suffers from photophobia, call The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision to schedule a functional visual evaluation and start your journey towards healing.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.

References:

Book An Appointment
Call Us 417-238-0229
Learn More About Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
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What is BVD

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What is Binocular Visual Dysfunction?

Having binocular vision means that your eyes are successfully working together to see an object as one clear image. With binocular visual dysfunction (BVD), your eyes cannot align with each other so they send separate images to the brain. Someone with BVD may be unable to easily fuse them into one clear image.

With BVD, the eye muscles and the brain will strain to correct the misalignment. This effort to see a single, clear image often results in:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Seeing double
  • Neck pain
  • Reading problems
  • Difficulty with depth perception
  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Blurry vision
  • Imbalance

BVD affects people of all ages. It can hinder an adult’s performance at work, making reading and other vision-centered tasks, such as driving, a chore. Diagnosing and treating children with BVD early on will allow children to see and read comfortably and meet the demands of school and sports.

Diagnosing & Treating BVD

Because someone with BVD may successfully see one image (albeit by straining), and otherwise possesses clear vision and good eye health, general practitioners, ophthalmologists and even neurologists may be baffled as to what the eye problem is. In addition, the eyes’ misalignment often is so minimal as to go undetected.

The optometrists at The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision are experienced in diagnosing and treating patients with BVD. Vision therapy is tailored to each patient to train and develop brain-eye communication. The therapy will help your eyes move properly, stay aligned, and work as a team. The result: Your eyes will see an object as one image, providing you with clear, comfortable vision. A vision therapy regimen can run from a few weeks to several months.

As part of the treatment, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman may also prescribe eyeglasses with prisms. The prism glasses help the eyes and brain to create a unified image, sometimes immediately.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.

References:

Book An Appointment
Call Us 417-238-0229
Learn More About Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
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Vision Related Motion Sickness

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Vision-Related Motion Sickness

Motion sickness refers to that woozy sensation one gets when traveling by car, boat, plane, on roller coasters and ferris wheels. Motion sickness and visual vertigo (dizziness and unsteadiness brought on by visual triggers) can produce similar symptoms, and are sometimes mistaken for one another. Both conditions can be due to issues in your visual system, so if you find yourself becoming disoriented, dizzy, or nauseous, it may be time to visit a neuro-optometrist.

Those who suffer from motion sickness often find it difficult or impossible to drive, play sports, go on amusement park rides, or be in an environment with fast or moderate motion. Engaging in these activities or being in visually-busy settings can produce uncomfortable — even debilitating — symptoms.

Fortunately, a neuro-optometrist can offer help. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of motion sickness, contact The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision to schedule a functional visual evaluation.

Exhausted tired woman with closed eyes touching head

What is Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness occurs when the body’s motion receptors send conflicting messages to the brain. For instance, some people experience nausea or other uncomfortable symptoms when reading from a book (or screen) while riding in a moving vehicle. This is because the eyes are focused on a still object — the words on a page — while the motion receptors in the inner ear sense motion. These conflicting messages are what contribute to the feeling of motion sickness.

How Can Vision Cause Motion Sickness Symptoms?

The visual input that comes from the eyes helps the brain understand where you are in relation to your surroundings. Other sensory information about the body’s position and stability come from receptors in the inner ear (vestibular sensors) as well as receptors in the legs and feet that inform the brain about any body movements and where they are located in relation to the rest of the body. The visual system, along with the other sensory receptors, all work together to keep you feeling balanced and stable.

Someone with visual dysfunction may experience motion sickness due to the inaccurate visual information being processed by the brain. This mismatch of visual input with vestibular cues causes you to experience vision-related motion sickness.

One visual condition that commonly causes motion sickness symptoms is binocular vision disorder (BVD). In BVD, the eyes are misaligned and each eye sends a separate image to the brain. To compensate for the conflicting visual messages, the brain works very hard to create a unified image and sometimes forces the eyes into correct alignment. This process can cause several symptoms, including those of motion sickness.

Symptoms of Vision-Related Motion Sickness

It’s common to experience any of the following symptoms of vision-relation motion sickness:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Trouble maintaining balance

How Our Doctors Treat Vision-Related Motion Sickness

At The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision, we treat the problem at its source — the brain and its connection to the visual system. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a process by which the brain is “rewired” to work in unison with the eyes. This method is highly effective in treating motion sickness if the problem is a dysfunction in the visual system.

At the initial consultation, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman will thoroughly evaluate your eyes and various visual skills to determine whether your visual system is contributing to your motion sickness. If a problem with visual function or processing is detected, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman may prescribe neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a highly personalized program of exercises that develop communication between the brain and the eyes. The program may also use several therapeutic tools, such as specialized lenses and prisms, to aid in the developmental process. Some practices offer only prism lenses as a treatment for motion sickness or visual vertigo. While this can lessen symptoms in the short term, prism lenses alone don’t offer lasting relief since the condition itself isn’t corrected. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is unique in that it can actually reverse the cause of the condition, offering long-lasting relief.

If you or a loved one suffers from motion sickness, speak with Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman about how we can help.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.

References

Book An Appointment
Call Us 417-238-0229
Learn More About Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
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The Research And Evidence Behind Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy

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Double Vision

When a person sees two separate or overlapping images of the same object, they are experiencing diplopia — or double vision.

Seeing double can turn small tasks into large ones. Ordinary activities such as reaching for a door knob or a glass of water can be challenging. Those with diplopia often have poor depth perception, which disrupts the ability to read, drive and play sports.

If you or someone close to you is experiencing double vision, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman can prescribe a fully personalized neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy program.

Symptoms of Diplopia

Common symptoms of double vision include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Pain around the eyes, temples, or eyebrows
  • Painful eye movements
  • Noticeable eye misalignment
  • Eye weakness
  • Drooping eyelids

There are three types of diplopia:

  • Horizontal diplopia: seeing two images that are separated horizontally
  • Vertical diplopia: seeing two images where one is higher than the other
  • Monocular diplopia: double vision that persists in only one eye

Double vision is usually a symptom of other health issues, and sometimes can indicate the need for immediate medical attention. If you experience diplopia, contact The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision for a prompt appointment.

What Causes Double Vision?

Temporary diplopia can be due to a lack of sleep or excessive alcohol consumption and is generally no cause for concern. Long-lasting or recurring double vision can be caused by several eye conditions, such as keratoconus, cataracts, or dry eye.

Most often, monocular diplopia is caused by these conditions.

  • Head injury, such as a stroke, a concussion, brain swelling, a brain tumor, or brain aneurysm
  • Refractive surgery, such as LASIK
  • Cranial nerve palsies
  • Strabismus, or eye misalignment

How is Double Vision Treated?

Diplopia treatments can include surgery, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, prescription prism glasses, and medication.

Why Choose a Neuro-Optometrist?

man standing near body of waterA neuro-optometrist diagnoses and treats neurological conditions that impact the functioning of the visual system.

The first step is to have a complete functional visual evaluation to determine which visual skills are lacking. After the initial diagnosis, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman will recommend the most suitable treatment. For diplopia patients, a fully personalized neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy program is most often prescribed. This specialized form of vision therapy can help you regain lost visual skills or develop new ones, and trains the eyes to work in unison with the brain. The result: long-lasting clear and unified vision.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy for double vision can effectively treat the underlying neurological condition using prisms, therapeutic lenses, filters, and patching. The use of prisms is often prescribed to patients with diplopia, as the prism bends the light to match the displacement of the affected eye, allowing the patient to see a single image.

A functional visual evaluation with Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman is especially crucial for patients who’ve sustained a head injury — however mild — as visual symptoms may result from the trauma.

Additionally, if you suspect your child has diplopia or any other visual problem, it’s best to bring them in for a functional vision assessment without delay, as children often lack the verbal skills needed to express what they’re seeing. A child experiencing double vision may still be able to identify letters and shapes, making it difficult for parents and teachers to detect a problem.

If you or a loved one is suffering from diplopia, don’t hesitate to call The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision to schedule your appointment today.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 417-238-0229
Learn More About Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
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Headaches And Migraines

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Common Headaches And Migraines | How A Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Pinpointing the cause of a headache can be difficult because headaches are a symptom of a multitude of conditions, rather than a disease itself. What many don’t know is that headaches can actually be rooted in visual dysfunction, especially following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or stroke. And while migraines are a more severe form of headache, they too can be related to visual dysfunction. If you suffer from sporadic headaches or migraines, make an appointment with Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman to rule out visual dysfunction as the cause or contributing factor.

Common Headaches Vs. Migraines: What’s The Difference?

What Is a Headache?

Those unpleasant pains in your head that feel like achy pressure are headaches. The pain can range from mild to severe, usually affecting both sides of your head. Some target areas include the temples, forehead, and upper neck. A headache can last anywhere from 10 minutes to several days.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and patients say they feel like their forehead is being forcefully squeezed by a tight band. Eye pain commonly accompanies a tension headache. While the cause of tension headaches is unknown, visual misalignment can produce identical symptoms to a tension headache, as will be discussed below.

What Is a Migraine?

A migraine is a more intense form of headache, and its symptoms tend to be more debilitating and frequent than common headaches. Migraines also tend to target one side of the face or head, and pain can last for hours or days. For some patients, a migraine starts with the presence of an aura, which can include visual disturbances such as flashing lights or blind spots. During a migraine, one may find it difficult to speak or think clearly. Furthermore, migraines can produce a tingling sensation or numbness in the limbs or extremities. Migraines are often accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and heightened sensitivity to light and sound.

woman with headacheHow Does Visual Dysfunction Impact Headaches and Migraines?

There are several types of visual deficiencies that can lead to headaches or migraines. One of the most common types is binocular visual disorder. A binocular vision problem refers to a misalignment of the eyes and can result from a stroke or TBI. When the eyes struggle to function together, they may become strained and overworked in an effort to correct the problem. This high amount of ocular stress can produce painful physical symptoms that can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions. For example, a headache that is rooted in visual misalignment is often mistaken for a sinus headache.

Convergence insufficiency and accommodative dysfunction are both well-studied forms of binocular dysfunction and can cause or exacerbate symptoms of both common headaches and migraines.

How Can I Tell If My Headache Is Vision-Related?

The only way to properly determine whether vision is at the root of a common headache or migraine is to have Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman assess your condition with a complete functional vision evaluation. Patients who suffer from headaches and seek our treatment are usually experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Stabbing or dull pain around the eyes
  • Headache that impairs your ability to perform daily tasks or remember things
  • Throbbing pain in the head or around the eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Frontal headache (“brow ache”)

Whether you experience one or more of the above symptoms regularly or occasionally, know that treatment is available.

We Can Treat Your Headaches

Standard headache treatments aren’t going to be effective if the cause of the symptoms is visual misalignment. Our job is to treat the misalignment with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, resulting in long-term headache relief.

By assessing your vision with a functional vision evaluation, we can narrow down the cause of the headaches and determine if vision could be amplifying your pain, even if it isn’t directly causing it. Once the diagnosis is confirmed and a visual problem is detected, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman will create a custom neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to strengthen your visual system and correct the problem. It is also important to refer to your complete medical history during the evaluation so that we can offer the best advice on how to holistically approach the situation in the way that best suits your lifestyle and health, taking all factors into account.

Start your journey to recovery and call The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision to schedule your appointment today.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.

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How a Stroke Impacts Vision

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident, or CVA, damages brain cells, and the more the damage to the brain, the more visual and neurological problems one can develop. Strokes are among the leading causes of death and disability in America, with more than 700,000 people suffering from strokes annually. Of those, almost two-thirds survive and require rehabilitation.

Strokes can affect and alter many parts of the brain, meaning it can drastically affect daily functioning in many different ways. The stroke’s location determines whether one loses motor, neurological and perceptual function and/or experiences visual aberrations.

About 60% of stroke survivors develop some form of visual impairment, such as convergence problems, strabismus (eye turns), diminished central or peripheral vision, eye movement abnormalities, or other visual perceptual defects. A neuro-optometrist, such as Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman, can help you regain visual function, memory and balance, while reducing blurriness, dizziness, double-vision and other related symptoms following a stroke.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when there is an interruption of the blood flow to an area of the brain.

The initial symptoms of a stroke typically include sudden loss of speech, vertigo, confusion, weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, headache, seizure and ocular disruptions.

Strokes can be classified into 2 main categories:

  • Ischemic strokes. These strokes, which comprise the vast majority of all CVAs, are caused by a blockage of an artery (or, rarely, a vein). This is most commonly caused by atherosclerosis, a condition where a fatty substance (called “plaque”) collects in your arteries, causing blood clots and blocking the arteries.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke. These CVAs are caused by blood vessel ruptures in the brain. This type of stroke tends to be caused by high blood pressure, injury, bleeding disorders, aneurysm and abnormal blood vessels.

adult aged black and white close up 1146603Transient Ischemic Attacks

Certain strokes are preceded by brief episodes of stroke symptoms known as transient ischemic attacks (TIA), which are temporary interruptions of blood supply to the brain. Those having experienced a TIA typically experience fleeting blindness that occurs in one eye and rapidly resolves within a few minutes.

In the aftermath of a suspected TIA, your doctor will evaluate your condition and determine the kind of treatment you may need. The risk of having a stroke is higher following a TIA, and it is, therefore, advisable to remain cautious and use it as an opportunity to act in order to prevent a CVA from occurring.

Recovering from a Stroke?

Strokes typically affect one side or hemisphere of the brain, resulting in an array of brain-related dysfunctions. Depending on the side of the brain that is impacted, a loss of motor function on the opposite side of the body may occur. This can cause difficulty in weight-bearing, as well as visual field loss or spatial neglect on the affected side. Experiencing difficulty recognizing letters, numbers, words (receptive aphasia), or having trouble speaking (expressive aphasia), are common after a stroke.

Vision problems may be overlooked during initial evaluation as symptoms may not be present until days or even weeks following the incident. Therefore, visual deficits related to stroke, traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders should be evaluated by a neuro-optometrist — ideally before they even become apparent.

Common Visual Problems After a Stroke

Because strokes affect the brain’s information processing, the impact it has on a patient’s visual function varies depending on the location and severity of the insult. The ocular changes associated with stroke can be categorized as sensory (visual acuity and visual field), motor (extraocular muscle motility) and perceptual.

Post-stroke vision impairment symptoms may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Visual field loss
  • Diplopia
  • Eye movement abnormalities
  • Visual perceptual defects
  • Extreme sensitivity to bright light (photophobia)
  • inability to recognize familiar objects or people

Strokes can impact driving, reading, doing basic tasks and other aspects of everyday life. Due to the elevated rate of visual disorders following a stroke, it is critical that stroke survivors undergo a comprehensive eye evaluation as soon as possible.

unknown celebrity carrying green leafed plant with red 2269732Strokes and Visual Midline Shift Vision (VMSS)

In the aftermath of a stroke, the spatial visual process will be compromised, affecting posture, balance and movement. One tends to lean toward one side of the body thinking that their body center has shifted. The brain, in turn, compensates for this weight shift by moving the visual midline away from the impacted side. This condition, called Visual Midline Shift Vision, or VMSS, can lead the person to shift their body laterally, causing changes in balance, posture and gait.

Yoked prism prescription glasses offer effective treatment for those with VMSS by treating balance issues caused by neuro-motor imbalance.

Stroke Rehabilitation and Neuroplasticity

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation programs work to eliminate or reduce double vision and improve balance, gait, visual information processing, cognitive skills, visual memory, motor skills and more.

This kind of rehabilitation promotes recovery through various therapies and activities that retrain the neural processes of the brain. Your brain’s ability to change and adapt is called neuroplasticity. By establishing new brain pathways, the patient learns to use other parts of the brain in order to recover the function of the impacted regions of the brain.

What is the Recovery Process?

A neuro-optometrist will begin with evaluating your vision, after which Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman will suggest an ideal treatment. In addition to a routine eye exam, the neuro-optometrist will evaluate the integrity of the visual field, unilateral spatial inattention (i.e. clock test, line bisection test), eye movements (fixation, pursuits, saccades), binocular and accommodative systems and photosensitivity.

If treatment is advised, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman will work with other rehabilitation team members to help the stroke survivor learn new ways of performing tasks to circumvent or compensate for any residual disabilities.

Recovering from Stroke Through Neuro-Optometry

Following a CVA, it’s important for the patient to be evaluated for any visual aberrations or disruptions by a neuro-optometrist. Earlier diagnosis and treatment reduces the risk of developing brain damage and potential complications later in life.

Because stroke affects people differently, it is difficult to predict the extent to which one can recover. Certain people may recover fully, whereas others may experience permanent damage.

One can continue to improve for years following a stroke, but for the majority of people, the recovery is most pronounced within the first 6 months. This is why an interdisciplinary approach to recovery will provide the best outcomes.

Neuro-optometrists skilled in vision rehabilitation, such as Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman, are an essential part of the multidisciplinary stroke rehabilitation team.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Techniques and Devices For Stroke Patients Include

  • Visual scanning
  • Exercises for peripheral awareness
  • Prism adaptation training
  • Optical tints
  • Yoked prisms
  • Spotting/sector prisms
  • Sector occlusions

Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman and the caring and knowledgeable staff at the The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision are dedicated to helping patients experience the best vision care and treatment possible.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities. .

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Treatment for Vestibular Dysfunction

Do you often feel dizzy or experience vertigo, motion intolerance, a persistent sense of imbalance, or unsteadiness? If so, there’s a chance you may have vestibular dysfunction. The good news is that these symptoms can be treated and you can regain your quality of life.

Vestibular dysfunction is more common than you may realize. A recent epidemiological study estimates that as many as 35% of adults over the age of 40 have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction in their lives. Fortunately, most causes of dizziness can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam. It has been found that 85% of cases are due to inner ear disturbance (vestibular dysfunction) and can be treated using Vestibular Rehabilitation.

Neuro-rehabilitation therapy allows us to retrain your brain and eyes to regain functionality and quality of life for those suffering from visual problems due to vestibular rehabilitation. It works by using a variety of methods and techniques to get both eyes to work as a team and see visual space accurately. This form of therapy, known as neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, is an effective treatment for reducing or resolving symptoms associated with vestibular dysfunction.

If you have (or suspect you have) vestibular dysfunction and/or suffer from dizziness, unsteadiness or motion intolerance, talk to Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman at The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision. We can help.

But First, What is Vestibular Dysfunction and What Causes It?

Tired man with Vestibular DysfunctionThe vestibular system is made up of the peripheral vestibular organ (located in the inner ear), the vestibulocochlear nerve, the central vestibular organ and neural connections situated in the brainstem. When the inner ear sends the brain the wrong information or conflicting signals, the person tends to feel dizzy. As a result, the natural response is to limit movement in order to minimize the rocking or spinning sensation.

What Causes Vestibular Dysfunction?

Vestibular dysfunction is caused by damage to the vestibular system by disease, viral infection, high doses of certain antibiotics, stroke, degeneration of the inner ear’s balance function, blows to the head (such as concussions, brain trauma, whiplash) or some other unspecified cause(s). This results in a series of symptoms that impact all aspects of daily living.

If the system is damaged, vestibular disorders can result in one or more of these symptoms:

  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Imbalance and spatial disorientation
  • Cognitive and psychological changes
  • Hearing changes
  • Vision disturbance

Concentration, memory loss and fatigue can often accompany vestibular dysfunction. In order to keep the body upright, the brain needs to work extra hard and therefore compromises on other brain functions. Some people with vestibular dysfunction find it difficult to get out of bed, function properly at school and work or perform routine tasks in environments heavy in visual stimuli (think grocery stores, traffic, shopping malls). Thankfully, by undergoing Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy these symptoms disappear along with the dizziness.

How is Vestibular Dysfunction Diagnosed and Treated/Rehabilitated?

Because inner-ear problems cause diverse symptoms such as vertigo, nausea and blurred vision, people with vestibular dysfunction spend years going from physician to physician, only to have their symptoms misdiagnosed as sinus, eye, neurological or psychological problems.

Neuro-optometrists specialize in understanding how specific visual dysfunctions relate to a patient’s symptoms and performance. At The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision in Joplin, Missouri, our patients undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a neuro-optometric rehabilitation optometrist.

During the comprehensive eye exam, the neuro-optometrist will evaluate many functions of the visual system, such as:

  • How well the eyes work together
  • Whether the eyes are struggling to focus
  • Eye scanning and tracking ability
  • How the patient processes his/her surroundings and moves through it
  • The connection between vision and balance
  • Complex visual perceptual ability (how one organizes and interprets visual information and associates meaning and visual memory to it)
  • Visual acuity, refraction, eye health evaluation, and peripheral vision testing

Following the examination, the neuro-optometrist will provide the patient with an individualized treatment plan, also known as neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. This therapy rehabilitates the visual, perceptual, and motor disorder and is great for patients of all ages.

The rehabilitation program incorporates in-office and at-home exercises for the remediation and management of the patient’s visual problems.

Vestibular Dysfunction often requires a multidisciplinary approach. In addition to neuro-optometrists, the rehabilitation team may include neurologists, rehab physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, neuropsychologists, and audiologists.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation for Vestibular Dysfunction

After reviewing any relevant medical documentation from your neurologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, etc, Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman will then perform a Neuro-Visual Assessment to identify and correct the underlying cause(s) of the disorder. The The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision will then craft a personalized treatment plan for your recovery.

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) or vestibular rehabilitation (VR) is the more targeted therapies within the larger neuro-rehabilitation therapy umbrella. VR or VRT is a carefully designed exercise-based therapy used to alleviate both the primary and secondary problems caused by vestibular disorders. The customizable program is designed to diminish vertigo and dizziness, enhance gaze stability, enhance postural stability and to improve activities of daily living.

VRT therapists, often working alongside the neuro-optometrist, look to improve visual skills while slowly adding tasks with different sensory-driven concepts. This therapy is made up of various head, body, and eye exercises specifically designed to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system and coordinate them with vision cues. These exercises differ from person to person – each according to their personal needs and conditions.

woman with vertigo and headacheVRT is based on the idea that the very movements that make the patient dizzy can eventually relieve the symptoms through repetition. By repeatedly bombarding the brain with incorrect messages, the brain ultimately adapts, and reinterprets the faulty signals as correct. As a result, the symptoms subside.

The VRT program includes a series of habituation exercises, such as jumping, sitting up and rapidly lying down, and spinning in circles. In addition to habituation exercises, vestibular rehabilitation patients are given eye exercises to retrain the vestibular ocular reflex, an adjustment controlled by the inner ear that ensures the eye keep the field of vision steady while the person is in motion. Eye exercises may involve moving the head from side to side or up and down repeatedly while focusing on a specific target in order to help steady the patient’s gaze.

The VRT exercise program is specifically built so that it can be performed at home. The better the patient complies with the home exercise program, the better the outcome and the quicker the rehabilitation.

Thanks to VRT, the vast majority of patients (80%) will experience a decrease in symptoms.

Our helpful, knowledgeable staff is always here to answer any questions you may have. Contact The Neuro-Optometry Center At Coleman Vision to schedule a consultation with our neuro-optometrist. If you’ve tried other types of therapies and nothing has worked, it’s time to see what Dr. David Coleman and Dr. Jeff Coleman can do for you.

Our practice serves patients from Joplin, Rogers, Miami, OK, and Springfield , Missouri and surrounding communities.

References:

  • Agrawal Y, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Schubert MC, Minor LB. Disorders of balance and vestibular function in US adults. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(10): 938-944.
  • Herdman, S. J., & Whitney, S. L. (2007). Interventions for the patient with vestibular hypofunction. In S. J. Herdman (Ed.), Vestibular rehabilitation (3rd ed., pp. 309–337). San Francisco: Davis.
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