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Vertical Heterophoria: Facts, Causes, Treatment




Optician eye test machine

We all know that our eyes have a paramount reason why we are blessed with them, as they serve as our window to the world. So, if our eyes are not functioning well, then it is surely going to have a huge impact not only on our vision, but our day to day lives as well. There is a condition known as vertical heterophoria or VH which is a type of binocular vision disorder that can occur at any time of a person’s life. There are some who are born with such a condition while there are also some who suffer vertical heterophoria because of triggers from illness, accident, or aging. There are also other people who are experiencing vertical heterophoria because of damage to the eye muscle or the nerves from a traumatic brain injury or from post-concussive syndrome. The good thing is, vertical heterophoria is very treatable with the help of specialized medical professionals. 
Some Facts You Should Know About Vertical Heterophoria
If you have not heard about vertical heterophoria yet, then here are some facts that you should know so that you will have a slight idea about what this condition is about. 
There Are Many Factors That Can Trigger Vertical Heterophoria
You may not have been noticing it, but you are going to experience the symptoms of vertical heterophoria all day. There may be a point in time where you may feel good, and then suddenly you will be feeling nauseous. 
Here are some actions that can be a trigger of vertical heterophoria:
  • Round curves while driving a car can trigger VH
  • Standing up abruptly from being seated
  • When you are in the car’s passenger seat
  • When you are straightening yourself rapidly after you have bent over
  • While you move your head side to side, or even up and down
  • While you are speed driving with other cars that are zooming by on the side
  • While you are looking up at tall ceilings while in large places like malls, airports, and supermarkets. 
This list of triggers is not exclusive, because there can be times when you are also going to feel nauseous. You may also notice this when you have an unsteady walking stride where it may seem that you are drifting even if you are just walking down a hallway, or you feel that you are being pulled into someone else’s stride.
These types of indications are also displayed by individuals who have inner ear disorders, so it is really essential to consult with a trained eye doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms. 
Shoulder, Head, And Neck Pain Can Be Symptoms Of Vertical Heterophoria
Apart from nausea, vertical heterophoria can also come with other sorts of related indications. You may feel pounding headaches especially at your temples, or you may feel pain at the back of your head. These pains will differ in location and in severity. There are also other symptoms that you should monitor, like when you are experiencing pain every time you move your eyes, a heavy sensation, or pressure at the crown of your head. 
This type of pressure can be compared to sinus pain, where you are going to feel a throbbing sensation as it finds its way to your jaw. 
Problems while driving may be experienced by a person with vertical heterophoria
If a certain task is going to involve focus and good hand-eye coordination, then this may become difficult if a person has this type of vision disorder. For most of the vertical heterophoria patients, they are having trouble when driving or they experience anxiety when they encounter the following situations:
  • When they perceive stationary objects as moving images at the edges of their vision
  • When they find difficulty in coming to a complete stop especially at significant stops and signs. 
  • When they experience nausea that is going to make them perceive that the sign is moving or the car is rolling backward even if it is not. 
Aside from that, these vertical heterophoria patients may also find difficulty in reading and comprehension as well. They are easily losing their place on the page, or they are skipping lines which is of the same nature as other symptoms. 
Individuals May Be Born With Vertical Heterophoria
However, the symptoms may not develop for many years. This is due to your eyes and body attempting to compensate as you grow up. By then, the symptoms you may be experiencing may seem normal or are attributed to other conditions. There are instances when this binocular vision dysfunction is caused by stroke, head trauma, or neurological disorders. In fact, the condition is common in individuals suffering from Post Concussive Syndrome.
A Physician’s Evaluation Is Necessary For Diagnosing Vertical Heterophoria
As you may have read in the earlier parts, the symptoms that are present in vertical heterophoria is of the same kind as to other conditions. this means that you will have to get your condition checked with your physician. And if other potential disorders have been ruled out, then you may want to consider getting a specialized Neuro Visual examination. This is a tool that helps in detecting even the smallest and subtlest misalignments. The reason that you will need this exam is that there are small misalignments that are not going to be detected if you just opt for a routine eye exam.
How Vertical Heterophoria Can Be Treated
It had already been mentioned earlier that vertical heterophoria can be treated, and one of the ways is the customized aligning eyeglasses. 
A seasoned eye doctor who is specializing in treating patients which have a vertical heterophoria said that treatment is going to depend on the condition and how severe it is. The evaluation for this condition is going to be very thorough as this can take for about two hours to complete. 
In order that the vertical heterophoria to be treated, the doctor is now going to require the person to wear customize special eyeglasses that are being used for individuals correction of the function, including the prismatic lenses that is going to help correct the misalignment by moving the images into what their correct positions thereby allowing you to work and stare at the same tie. So, if you know someone who may be in need of this treatment, then see to it that they have consulted the proper doctor because treatment is available.

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