BVD Symptoms and Treatment

Editor: Dr. Russel Lazarus, Published February 17, 2021

Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD) is a condition where the eyes are slightly misaligned and the eyes struggle to send one clear image to the brain.

BVD can cause a variety of symptoms such as dizziness, motion sickness, headache, and light sensitivity.

BVD can significantly impact the lives of both children and adults and since there is a wide range of symptoms to BVD, this condition is often misdiagnosed as dyslexia or ADD/ADHD.

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, the Find an Eye Doctor directory provides a list of eye doctors near you that may be able to help diagnose and discuss treatment options for BVD.

Symptoms of BVD

BVD symptoms can interfere with a person’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Doing basic tasks, such as driving a car or reading, can become difficult, due to motion sickness and results in life-changing anxiety and disorientation.

BVD can severely negatively impact the quality of life.

The list of symptoms of BVD can feel endless. Eye doctors sometimes categorized them to make it a bit easier to understand. The following symptoms are experienced by many BVD patients;

Reading Symptoms

  • Fatigue with reading
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty with reading comprehension
  • Skipping lines
  • Words running together
  • Using a line guide to help keep your place
  • Letters vibrating or shimmering

Physical Findings

  • Head tilt causing neck aches, upper back, and shoulder pain
  • Drifting to one side while walking

Inner Ear Symptoms

  • Dizziness/Lightheadedness
  • Motion sickness
  • Nausea
  • Unsteadiness with walking
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty walking down the grocery aisle
  • Frequently falling
  • Disorientation

Pain Symptoms

  • Pain with eye movements and/or eye pain
  • Aching face / “Sinus” pain
  • Headaches or head pressure/pain

Visual Symptoms

  • Sore eyes and eye strain
  • Painful vision, aching face
  • Blurry vision at near or far distances
  • Difficulty with night vision
  • Difficulty with close-up vision

Binocular Vision Symptoms

  • Blurry, shadowed, or double vision
  • Difficulties holding eye contact
  • Poor depth perception
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty with reflection or glare
  • Closing or covering one eye to enhance vision

Sleep Symptoms

  • Restless and fitful sleep
  • Difficulty sleeping, unless the room is completely dark

Driving Symptoms

  • Anxiety when driving
  • Trouble judging when to stop, due to difficulty estimating distance

Anxiety Symptoms

  • Generalized anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Agoraphobia
  • Feeling anxious or overwhelmed by crowds
  • Suicidal thoughts

Can BVD be misdiagnosed?

Yes, since BVD symptoms can mimic other conditions, this condition is frequently misdiagnosed.

Patients with BVD are often told they may have one of the following conditions, when in fact it could be BVD:

  • ADD / ADHD
  • Agoraphobia
  • Anxiety / Panic disorders
  • Persistent Post-Concussive symptoms
  • Cervical misalignment
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
  • Psychogenic dizziness / Chronic Subjective Dizziness
  • PPPD (Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness)
  • Vestibular Migraine / Migraine Associated Vertigo (MAV)
  • Migraines
  • MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Reading & learning disabilities
  • Sinus problems
  • Stroke
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders

Treatment of BVD

While BVD is often misdiagnosed, once you have the right diagnosis there are treatment options that can eliminate the symptoms of binocular vision dysfunction.

BVD is successfully treated with specific optical lenses called ‘prism lenses’ and vision therapy. 

Prism Lenses

Prismatic lenses work to correct the misalignment in your eyes by manipulating incoming light before it enters your eyes so that when the images from the two eyes reach the brain, the brain can fuse them into a single image.

The prisms in the glasses ‘trick’ the brain into thinking your eyes are properly aligned, causing you to see just one object and preventing eye muscle strain.

Vision Therapy 

Patients with BVD are also often treated with a customized program of vision therapy. especially if suffering with dizziness.

Vision therapy is a program to improve the communication between the brain and the eyes, further supporting the visual system and alleviating the symptoms of BVD.

Usually, patients find that their symptoms gradually subside or completely disappear when they wear prescribed prism lenses, which can be even further helped by completing a program of vision therapy.

An eye doctor experienced in BVD can discuss the treatment options to help you effectively maximize your vision allowing you to get back to enjoying life to the max.