Whiplash Neck Injury Causes Vision Problems

It is estimated that 10-40% of people suffering whiplash will develop chronic symptoms.(1) For many, these symptoms include vision problems such as light sensitivity, blurred vision, and poor reading or concentration. While we might think these types of symptoms are common with a concussion, they are also common with neck injury.

The control of our eye movement depends on the position of our head when holding it still and when we are moving it. There are 3 significant control systems that must work together to allow us to control our eyes and maintain focus. These are the inner ear (vestibular), the eyes themselves (vision) and information from joint movement or position (proprioception) of the neck. The upper part of the neck has a high number of nerves in the little muscles, deep around the spine, that relay the movement of the neck to a specific structure in our brain stem. From this structure, messages are sent to the small muscles around our eyes to help keep our eyes focused.

With a whiplash injury, the second most common area injured is the upper neck, causing injury to these small muscles. When this happens, these damaged muscles cannot send the correct message of position and movement of the neck to the brainstem. This poor message is then sent up to the small muscles of the eye, which causes a problem with the small muscle focusing our eyes. The result is vision problems. This injury can easily be confirmed by some simple eye movement and balance testing done in the office.

The good news is chiropractic adjustments have been shown to be quit effective in helping to restore proper vision. Research has shown that specific adjustments of the upper neck help “reeducate” the injured muscles and joints, helping them re-establish the normal nerve messages to the brain. In addition, eye movement and neck exercises have also shown to be of great help in restoring normal vision.

If you have been involved in an auto accident and are experiencing vision problems or other neck issues, give our office a call at (314) 731-4383 to schedule and examination.

As a 1984 graduate of Life Chiropractic College, Dr. Martin Schmaltz has years of helping those who have been injured in auto accidents. He has extensive training and study in how the injury happens as well as the specific treatments and documentation to help his patients. He has a great working relationship with many attorneys in the St Louis area and is known for his detailed notes and diagnosis of the injured patient.