Dizziness and vertigo are two common problems that can be disorienting and uncomfortable, and can sometimes be caused by issues with the visual or vestibular systems. In this blog, we'll explore the difference between dizziness and vertigo, some of the potential causes of these symptoms, what you can do if you're experiencing them, and how a neuro optometrist approaches diagnosis and treatment.

What’s the difference between dizziness and vertigo?

Dizziness is often described as a feeling of imbalance or disequilibrium. It can be triggered by things like moving your head quickly, and can be caused by a variety of issues, including concussion, head injury, whiplash, and stroke. People with neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and tumors may also experience dizziness and vertigo.

Vertigo is a type of dizziness that is characterized by a sensation that the room is spinning. It can be triggered by the same things that cause dizziness, and can also be caused by issues with the vestibular system (the system that helps us maintain balance).

Learn more about dizziness and vertigo.

Dizziness and Visual Confusion: The Link between Meniere's and Vestibular Neuritis and Visual Vertigo

You once had a well-integrated visual and vestibular system. A vestibular problem such as Meniere's or a neuritis changes the way those two systems interact. As a result, you will be much more sensitive to any vision issues now that the two systems don't match.

If you improve your vision accuracy and re-calibrate the two systems, you can improve many of your symptoms that result from conditions such as Meniere's or vestibular neuritis and return to being yourself again.

Visual Vertigo: Inner Ear Conditions that can Affect Your Sight and Balance

This imbalance of the inner ear and visual system can often result in visual disturbances, vertigo, balance issues, becoming overwhelmed by visual stimuli, and vertigo. If you have experienced any of the following conditions we recommend that you visit our neuro optometric rehabilitation clinic in Santa Clarita for a neuro optometric evaluation.

  • Vestibular Migraine: A type of migraine characterized by episodes of vertigo or dizziness.
  • Vestibular Neuritis: An inner ear disorder caused by inflammation of the vestibular nerve, resulting in vertigo and dizziness.
  • Labyrinthitis: An inner ear infection causing vertigo, dizziness, and hearing loss.
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): A disorder characterized by brief, intense episodes of vertigo caused by a specific head position or movement.
  • Unilateral Vestibular Hypofunction (UVH): A disorder caused by a loss of function in one inner ear, resulting in imbalance and difficulty with eye movements.
  • Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD): A chronic disorder characterized by symptoms of dizziness, imbalance, and visual disturbance that persist after a vestibular or inner ear event.
  • Mal de Debarquement (MdDS): A disorder characterized by a persistent feeling of rocking or swaying, often after a period of travel.
  • Cervicogenic Dizziness: A disorder caused by problems in the neck that can cause symptoms of dizziness and imbalance.
  • Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS): a group of symptoms that occur after a traumatic brain injury, including dizziness, headaches and visual disturbance.
  • Meniere's Disease: A disorder of the inner ear that can cause vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus.
  • Neurological conditions (such as stroke or traumatic brain injury): Various neurological disorders can cause vestibular symptoms, including dizziness and imbalance.
  • Other vestibular disorders: There are many other conditions that can affect the inner ear and cause symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance.

How are vertigo, dizziness, and your vision connected?

There is a connection between vertigo, dizziness, and vision because the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance and spatial orientation, is closely linked with the visual system. The vestibular system sends information to the brain about the body's movements and position in space, and the visual system helps to interpret this information and create a sense of balance and spatial orientation.

When there is a problem with the vestibular system, it can cause dizziness or vertigo, and this can also affect vision. For example, if a person is experiencing vertigo, they may feel like the room is spinning, and this can cause visual disturbances, such as blurred vision or double vision. Similarly, if a person is experiencing dizziness, their vision may feel off balance or distorted, and they may have difficulty focusing.

Problems with the visual system can also contribute to dizziness and vertigo. For example, if a person has an incorrect eyeglass prescription, they may feel dizzy or disoriented because their brain is not receiving accurate visual information. Similarly, issues with the muscles that control the eyes, such as an eye turn or misalignment, can also cause dizziness or vertigo.

What can be done about dizziness and vertigo?

Our neuro optometrist in Santa Clarita can help if you're experiencing dizziness or vertigo following a traumatic brain injury. During a neuro optometric evaluation, he may ask you to move your head or body in certain ways to see how your vestibular system is functioning. In some cases, simply getting out of the exam chair and moving around can trigger dizziness or vertigo.

Treatment for dizziness and vertigo may include things like a new eyeglass prescription (with special lenses like plus lenses or prisms), binasal occlusion, tints or filters, or vision therapy. These therapies can help improve balance and reduce the frequency and severity of dizziness and vertigo.

Schedule a neuro optometric evaluation

If you are experiencing vertigo or dizziness, it is essential to seek the help of a qualified eye doctor, such as our neuro optometrist, Dr. Garbus FAAO. These symptoms can be caused by a range of issues, including problems with the vestibular system, the visual system, or both. Dr. Garbus is specially trained to assess both the visual and vestibular systems and can provide appropriate treatment to address the root cause of your symptoms.

Explore comprehensive care for a functional eye exam at our leading optometry clinic in Valencia, conveniently serving patients from nearby Santa Clarita, Palmdale, and San Fernando Valley. Call (661) 775-1860 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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