The ability to see clearly influences many of our daily routines and interactions, so if you’ve found yourself grappling with blurred vision or other visual disturbances resulting from an infection, injury, or autoimmune or vestibular disorder, it’s likely been a source of frustration and concern.
Visual disturbances, ranging from fleeting blurriness to more intricate challenges, can stem from an array of neurological disorders and conditions that affect the vestibular system. It’s important for a practitioner to accurately diagnose and localize the region of dysfunction in order to provide the best possible treatment. Here are a few conditions that can cause visual disturbances and how functional neurology can effectively treat them.
Visual disturbances, also called “aura,” can occur with migraine attacks. These may include flashing lights, blind spots, or zigzag patterns. Identifying the causes and triggers of migraines helps us tailor a treatment plan. Our practitioners at Neurohealth Services may begin with a blood chemistry analysis to detect or rule out hormonal imbalances, inflammation markers, and immune dysfunction, and use diagnostics to evaluate whether inner ear problems or postural alignments are aggravating the symptoms. We may use oculomotor rehabilitation and oxygen therapy to enhance nerve healing and reduce inflammation. We also use non-invasive manual therapies designed to reset nervous system pain signaling and cold laser therapy to stimulate cell regrowth and repair.
Concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)
When the brain experiences the sudden jolt or impact of a concussion, it can disrupt visual processing pathways, leading to impaired communication between the eyes and the brain. Functional neurology treatments that focus on optimizing nervous system function can help repair these pathways. We use the Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP) to help pinpoint areas in need of treatment, the Alpha-Stim cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) to help stimulate nerve cells, and other non-invasive therapies designed to promote healing, improve circulation, and reduce swelling and inflammation.
Autoimmune disorders can cause inflammation in various parts of the body, including the nervous system and the eyes. This can lead to blurred vision or other vision problems. Functional neurology is often one aspect of a broader treatment plan and can include treatments such as neurological rehabilitation exercises designed to stimulate specific parts of the brain that are involved in visual processing. We also incorporate sensory stimulation techniques like light therapy to influence neural pathways related to vision. Last, our practitioners might make nutritional and lifestyle recommendations such as dietary changes, and supplements to support overall nervous system health.
COVID-19 and Long Haul COVID
Visual disturbances can be a symptom of both an active COVID-19 infection and long haul COVID, and they can include blurred vision, sensitivity to light, difficulty focusing, and eye pain. A few of the therapies we are currently using are similar to those we use to treat PCS and include oculomotor rehabilitation to retrain and improve eye movement coordination, gaze control, and visual processing, and therapies designed to accelerate healing and reduce inflammation.
If you are experiencing visual disturbances, it’s important to seek evaluation and get a diagnosis to determine the best course of treatment. Depending on the underlying cause of your visual disturbances, treatments may include therapies, lifestyle modifications, or other non-invasive interventions that have been proven effective. Call (317) 848-6000 for a free 10-minute consultation with a caring and experienced specialist at Neurohealth Services and get on the path to wellness today.
Many of the conditions we treat at Neuroheatlh Services involve disorders of the inner ear or the vestibular system. These conditions cause symptoms that affect balance, spatial orientation, and coordination.
Functional neurology practitioners at Neurohealth Services use a range of advanced tools to diagnose and treat these disorders. Here are some of the conditions we see at Neuroheatlh Services and the approaches we use to treat them.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
This condition is characterized by positional vertigo in which an individual may feel extremely dizzy when their head is in a certain position. For example, you may roll over to one side in bed and feel intense room-spinning vertigo for 10 to 20 seconds. The Epley maneuver is designed to restore balance and orientation.
This particular type of migraine includes vertigo or dizziness as one of the main symptoms. Functional neurology can provide strategies to manage migraines, such as dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, stress management techniques, and supplementation, to reduce the frequency and intensity of vestibular symptoms.
Mal de Debarquement Syndrome
Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS) is a rare neurological disorder characterized by persistent feelings of motion, such as rocking, swaying, or bobbing, that typically occur after a period of travel on a boat or other motion-triggering mode of transportation. There have been reported cases of individuals experiencing MdDS-like symptoms without a clear history of such travel. This sensation of continuous motion, even when on solid ground, can severely disrupt a person's quality of life and daily routines. At Neurohealth Services we use non-invasive vestibular rehab treatments designed to target the brain's balance and spatial orientation systems, such as the GyroStim rotational chair system and videonystagmography (VNG).
Unilateral Vestibular Weakness
This condition is characterized by an imbalance in the functioning of the vestibular system, which, as noted, plays a crucial role in balance and spatial orientation. This imbalance often stems from damage or dysfunction in one ear's vestibular organs. Functional neurology’s approach to treatment uses the principles of neuroplasticity to focus on optimizing the central nervous system's function and promoting compensation for the weakened vestibular input. Treatment strategies may involve specific exercises and activities designed to stimulate the affected vestibular pathways, as well as sensory integration techniques aimed at improving overall balance and coordination.
Visual Vertigo or Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness
This is another condition characterized by a persistent sensation of dizziness or unsteadiness and can be triggered or worsened by specific head and body movements. Patients may experience instability, and sometimes nausea or headache, particularly when exposed to busy visual environments, patterns, or when focusing on moving objects. The condition is thought to arise from a mismatch between visual and vestibular (inner ear) sensory input, leading to confusion in the brain's processing of spatial orientation. PPPD is considered a functional disorder, and its management typically involves a combination of approaches, including vestibular rehabilitation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and addressing anxiety or psychological factors that may contribute to the symptoms.
This common and uncomfortable condition is marked by nausea, vomiting, and dizziness when exposed to motion or other sensory triggers that the brain perceives as conflicting. Functional neurology offers a comprehensive approach to treating motion sickness by addressing the underlying neurological imbalances and enhancing the brain's ability to adapt to sensory input. Treatment strategies may include vestibular rehabilitation techniques like sensory integration and neurofeedback that help our patients better control their autonomic nervous system.
In addition to the treatments described for the conditions listed above, general approaches to vestibular disorders also always include a thorough evaluation to assess our patient's symptoms, medical history, and neurological function. We use advanced diagnostic tools to analyze eye movement and vestibular function.
Our functional neurology practice also recognizes the importance of sensory input for proper balance and coordination. Incorporating visual and auditory cues can help retrain the brain's interpretation and integration of sensory information.
Finally, functional neurology recognizes that each patient's condition is unique. Therefore, our treatment plans are tailored to the specific needs of each individual patient. We may combine various therapies to address the underlying causes of vestibular dysfunction and support overall neurological health. A Discovery Day is a 3 to 4-hour comprehensive examination designed to evaluate your unique neurological health so that we can develop a personalized treatment program to meet your needs.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of vestibular dysfunction noted above, or you’ve experienced a noticeable decrease in cognitive function along with digestive symptoms, headaches, dizziness, or fatigue that are disrupting your quality of life, schedule a free 10-minute consultation with Neurohealth Services that can be the start to your wellness journey. Call (317) 848-6000.