Meniere’s Disease and Vision 

Published January 12, 2021

What is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic vestibular, or inner ear condition that causes severe vertigo and tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fullness in the ears and hearing loss.

Meniere’s disease affects over 600,000 Americans each year. 

Meniere’s disease can develop at any age, but most often affects adults between the ages of 40-60.

The exact cause of Meniere’s disease has yet to be discovered, but research shows that this condition may be hereditary, or result from:

  • Autoimmune reaction
  • Viral infection
  • Inner ear fluid build up

What is the connection between the visual and vestibular systems?

The vestibular system is responsible for maintaining balance and stability, helping you to feel safely grounded as you go about your day.

At the same time, around 80 percent of the sensory information that the brain receives is visual— this means that your eyes play a large and important role in telling your brain where you are in space in relation to other objects.

Therefore, it is crucial for your brain to receive information from both your vestibular and visual systems, in order for you to feel balanced and stable.

Any problem in either of these systems can lead to imbalance, dizziness, nausea, and even make you feel like the room is spinning around you.

If you are experiencing any dizziness or imbalance, it is vital to have your visual system evaluated to understand the underlying cause of your symptoms and rule out visual dysfunction.

If visual dysfunction is at the root of your symptoms, your eye doctor may recommend a program of vision therapy to strengthen your visual skills and improve your functional vision— which will significantly reduce the dizziness and imbalance you may be experiencing.

Even mild visual dysfunction can cause or exacerbate the uncomfortable symptoms related to a vestibular disorder, such as Meniere’s disease.

What is vision therapy? 

Vision therapy is a customized program that involves the use of specialized lenses, prisms and eye exercises that retrain and strengthen the communication between the eyes and brain for improved visual function.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, speak with your eye doctor about the benefits of vision therapy.