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It’s Not Just Your Eyes by Dr. Patricia Fink

beautiful eyes1.jpgIf your eyes are the camera with which you view the world, then the body that supports the camera is your tripod. The positioning and movement of your spine, hips, and even feet can affect and in turn, be affected by your vision. For example, when a person has vision issues and has an unsteady gait, we don’t know if the chicken or egg came first because there are several feasible scenarios. The person’s vision may be affected by posture, the person’s posture may be affected by visual issues, or the two systems may be affecting one another.

In any case, for such a person, it may be most beneficial to receive treatment from both a chiropractor and optometrist, working together. In Canada and worldwide, multidisciplinary clinics are becoming more popular as clinicians and patients realize that the different systems at work in the human body can affect each other in many different ways, and this certainly includes the visual system. Part of this phenomenon can be explained by the fact that significant amounts of nerve fibers from the eyes, ears, and other sensory receptors of the human body go to the same part of the brain, the superior colliculus. 

Anything that affects a person’s visual space can affect the entire body. How such a person moves through their environment is led by the visual system. If he or she suffers visual malfunctions, the inefficiency of the system may contribute to visual miscalculation, which results in misreading the environment. This can cause a person to feel unsure for startled by obstacles in their environment.  This often initiates the fight-or-flight response eventually resulting in a perpetual stress pattern. This can affect all systems in the body.

A good example of how all senses interact could be seen in an individual who develops an asymmetrical posture resulting in a constant downward gaze. If this person was to seek sensory therapy, such as speech rehabilitation, they may be asked to use their visual system to watch and mimic oral postures and sounds, but the patient will find it difficult to follow the movement of the speech pathologist’s tongue and lips when his vision is constantly drawn downward which may be caused by his asymmetrical posture. Another example is small children who spend excessive time focused on electronic devices.  This behavior may result in visual adaptions due to the stress of sustained long term convergence of their eyes and interrupt normal development and learning  In cases such as this we can see that sensory systems are interacting. 

At Dr. Patricia Fink Optometry, our concern does not stop with your two eyes. We care about your overall wellness, and always keep in mind that your vision impacts other systems in your body, and is in turn impacted by them. We are ready to work with your other medical practitioners to ensure that your body and vision are healthy in every possible way. Ask us about our co-management plans on the phone, or come in for an exam and find out how we can help you.