by Janet Kohtz, OD, FCOVD, NORA
For 20 years optometric clinicians and researchers have been aware of the power of prisms and lenses resolving many medical and neurological issues including Parkinson’s disease, post concussive syndrome, (aka post traumatic vision syndrome), stroke and lyme disease. There are a number of symptoms that develop over time following the inception of these medical issues or injuries.
Problems with visual processing may contribute to and or exacerbate symptoms of:
- Diplopia (double vision);
- Ocular pursuits (eye tracking ability);
- Saccadics (difficulties with shifting gaze quickly from one point to the other);
- Accommodative inability (focusing);
- Binocular vision (eye alignment);
- Glare sensitivity;
- Inability to maintain visual contact;
- Memory problems;
- Photophobia (light sensitivity);
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears);
- Tactile defensiveness;
- Mental or physical fatigue;
- Decreased mental focus/attention;
- Emotional distress/anxiety;
- Balance issues;
- Depth perception;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Speaking difficulty;
- Excessively slow visuomotor performance affecting handwriting,
- and an intolerance for movement.
Of these symptoms, specific visual symptoms may be headaches, light intolerance, blurred vision, dizziness or nausea, attention or concentration difficulties, confusion in busy sound and visual environments, drawing away from looming objects, becoming troubled by objects moving nearby, staring behavior, spatial disorientation, loss of place when reading, comprehension problems when reading, visual memory problems and double vision.
Also, the following visual signs are common: exotropia (the eyes turning outward), accommodative insufficiency (the inability to focus at nearpoint —the point nearest the eye at which an object is accurately focused on the retina), poor fixations and pursuits and fixations, poor or greatly decreased peripheral vision, and neuromotor difficulties with balance, coordination and posture.
Although the above-mentioned symptoms appear routinely in Parkinson’s, it is interesting to note that they are also prevalent in Lyme disease or Babesia (a common Lyme disease co-infection). Lyme disease can be contracted in youth, remain dormant for many years, and reappear years later with the above symptoms or signs. Particularly be aware of double vision, blurry vision, an increase in floaters, and light sensitivity.
Therefore, I reiterate, in vision we are not just discussing an “eyeball” situation, we are discussing vision challenges that often come about when a neurological event is developing and how it can be mediated and remediated through the use of lenses, prisms and vision therapy.
In prescribing, the neuro-optometric professional is looking for the patient’s responses to optical transformations and how s/he uses the visual process to direct action. Whether it’s Parkinson’s, Lyme disease, or other neurological problems, the symptoms and signs of vision inequity can be largely improved with proper optometric care by a specially trained neuro optometric provider, using lenses, prisms and vision therapy.
Please visit Doctor Kohtz by clicking on her link at ParkinsonsResource.org/general-information/dr-janet-kohtz/. Go to the PRO Wellness Village often as we continue growing your one-click virtual RESOURCE directory.