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Binocular Vision Dysfunction and Treatment

If you regularly suffer from motion sickness, headaches, dizziness or even anxiety, an eye condition may the the last cause you would ever think to consider. However, if you've visited eye doctors and specialists, have had tests done and still come out empty-handed, it may be time to consider Binocular Vision Dysfunction as a possible cause.

In a properly functioning visual system, the right and left eyes are aligned such that they converge properly on an object being viewed. Each eye, therefore, sends only a slightly different image to the brain, making it easy for the brain to combine these two different views into a single interpreted image. The ability to do this is referred to as, “binocular vision.”

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Binocular Vision Dysfunction, also known simply as BVD, is a condition in which the two eyes are unable to align properly without some (usually subconscious) effort on the part of the sufferer to correct or compensate for this misalignment. This effort  puts a great deal of strain on the eye muscles as they constantly struggle to re-align and eliminate blurriness and double vision. This heavy strain often results in dizziness, headaches, disorientation and difficulties reading comfortably. Sufferers of BVD may experience all or only some of these symptoms, which often makes BVD quite difficult to diagnose.

Dr. Vincent Penza and Dr. Katherine Morioka of City Optometry in San Francisco, California are specialists in the field of Binocular Vision Dysfunction and its treatment.

Dr. Morioka explains, “BVD can be caused by a number of factors including normal asymmetry of the face, facial asymmetry developed as a result of aging or head trauma, or from injury resulting in damage to the nerves of the eye muscles. Along with headaches, motion sickness and dizziness, BVD can also cause many symptoms not often thought to be related to vision, such as anxiety when in a large group of people or area and neck, back and shoulder pain. This last symptom comes from the tendency of some BVD sufferers to lean forward or tilt their head to compensate for the misalignment of their eyes. The constant strain on their body that results from this unnatural positioning causes body aches beyond the eyes.”

Discussing possible treatment for BVD, Dr. Penza comments, “Here at City Optometry we employ a number of advanced and well developed techniques to treat BVD, including prismatic spectacle lenses which help take much of the strain and fatigue off of the visual system. On average, our patients experience around a 30%-50% reduction in symptoms almost immediately, and a 70%-80% reduction after a few visits to fine tune and customize the lenses. The process yields incredible results in as little as 2 to 3 months in most cases.”

For more information, contact Dr. Penza and Dr. Morioka at City Optometry today at 415-683-6440 or 

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"Growing up, the thought of helping people was very appealing and probably sparked my interest in pursuing a healthcare career.Yet the real motivator for me becoming an eye doctor came from a desire to help people preserve their wonderful gift of sight. In fact, during the past two decades that...
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"I chose optometry because it was the perfect blend between helping people, being in a health profession and creativity. It is fun for me to talk to all my patients and get to know them as a whole rather than just understand their eyes. I also love giving everyone their...