I feel like my eyes are part of the problem

My doctor suspects MAV, but he has some uncertainty about this diagnosis because I have no personal or family history of migraine. I feel like my eyes could play a big part in my symptoms. I feel a wave of dizziness and lightheadedness when I:

  • I move my eyes
  • Switch from focusing at something near to far away
  • My vision vibrates a little bit all the time.
  • I notice that my vision jumps when I am chewing food.
  • My eyes are always tired.
  • No depth perception.

I almost feel better if I close my eyes, or even just close one eye.

I saw an optometrist when this started so I could get glasses but I didnt tell her about he dizziness because I was misdiagnosed as labyrinthitis… So I dont think she checked for any actual problems (like binocular tracking). She gave me a minor prescription for astigmatism. My glasses help my vision clarity but they dont solve all my other problems.

Asside from the eye-related problems i mentioned above, my main problems are:

  • 24/7 pressure in the back of my head.
  • 24/7 lightheadedness, I feel like Im going to faint, but I never do, and it doesnt go away when I lay down (so its not a circulation problem).
  • Neck muscle soreness
  • Occasional shooting head pains around my eyes and forehead that last 5 seconds then go away.

It could be MAV, but I am just wondering if my eyes could also be the problem. I have heard of a condition called Vertical Heterophoria, and Dr. Debby Feinburg says that a lot of her patients have exactly my symptoms.


From what iv read, all visual symptoms can be attributed to mav.

Iv had 2 years of visual probs… It all makes sense since my diagnosis. And its particularly ramped up since the dizziness began. In fact, I told my neuro my probs seem more visual than dizzy… He says it’s all migraine, I’m inclined to agree as iv had every eye test and investigation under the sun.

Maybe it’s something else for you, but for me, visual symptoms are a big part of my mav.


Me too. When I get back from Asia, I am going to check out that clinic in Birmingham Michigan where Dr. Feinberg has her practice. I’ve had double vision since birth due to a wandering eye. Part of me wonders if this whole problem is due to my eye finally giving me extra grief after all these years.

My symptom is that when I do NOT do any reading or writing on the computer, I feel pretty good. The more I try to read, focus, write, and so forth, the worse I get. And yesterday I ate at one of those sushi places with a rotating belt where you grab the sushi off the belt; well this place had two belts going in opposite directions. My eyes were trying to track sushi moving in two directions and I almost lost it sitting right there at the sushi bar. It was kind of funny but also kind of sad!

Thats interesting that you have also thought about that Longshort. Do you think any other optomologists or ophthalmologist are able to diagnose this condition?

Its possible that this condition could be the cause (or at least provoking) my condition. My dad has a lazy eye, so I could be genetically predisposed to binocular problems. I have always had bad depth perception, trouble reading, loosing my place while reading, carsickness, etc… I have had all the symptoms throughout my life, but dizziness just recently appeared.

I was surprised to read the patient testimonials because lots of people have chronic dizziness and vertigo spells. Some patients even wake up with vertigo spells in the night or morning, who would have thought the eyes could cause that, because you arent even using your eyes in your sleep.

Hi , this is typical MAv behaviour . The in balance is caused by eye to brain discord so don’t fret,

— Begin quote from “ichbindarren”


I was surprised to read the patient testimonials because lots of people have chronic dizziness and vertigo spells. Some patients even wake up with vertigo spells in the night or morning, who would have thought the eyes could cause that, because you arent even using your eyes in your sleep.

— End quote

thats how 95% of my “spinning”/vertigo episodes will start is when I’m sleeping…i still have no idea how to put a stop to it.

I have been doing a vision therapy program because, along the way of my medical mystery tour for MAV, I was sent to an eye clinic where convergence insufficiency (inability of my eyes to work together to focus) was diagnosed. I do believe my eyes are part of the problem in this and am hoping this will correct that part. On the tests I’m doing there, I do see a difference in how I can track things and switch my focus. I suggest you get checked out for that problem – it may just be the MAV, but could be a particular eye problem (perhaps caused by the MAV) like I have too.

I filled out the questionnaire on Dr. Feinberg’s website that focuses on vertical heterophoria (VH). I got a call from one of their nurses today in response to my questionnaire. The nurse said that I scored a 47 on the questionnaire, and they test for binocular problems (like VH) for any patient with a score of 15 or higher… She said that ALL of my list of symptoms are frequently seen in VH patients.

I am going to talk to an optometrist soon. And if necessary, I may drive down to Dr. Tajiri in Fresno, California because Dr. Feinberg’s website said he is one of the few other optometrists who frequently treats this condition. In fact, Dr. Tajiri and Dr. Feinberg did did a co-presentation on VH in front of a large audience of ENT’s in Los Angles a recently.

I am starting to question my diagnosis of MAV. My ENT is not convinced of it either, the only reason I am trialing migraine meds is because I asked if I could do it as a diagnostic. I have no personal or family history of migraine and no response to migraine trigger avoidance. My eyes are always really tired, and my vision overlaps a little, and I can tell that my left eye actually does see images a little higher than my right one (When I do the cover and uncover test).

I have been on Propranolol for 9 days now. I am going to stay on the medication for a few more weeks and see if it helps at all.

I share the same vision problems as you. I think that because MAV seems fairly new and not completely understood, it’s hard for people to say if there is a family history, as many of your relatives may have gone undiagnosed. My mother, who has had very similar vision problems since her childhood, was diagnosed the same week as I was.

I felt great when I woke up this morning, I had no dizziness or head pressure. But as soon as I opened my eyes, I felt that something was not right because my eyes wouldn’t focus on close objects. I tried responding to an email on my phone when I woke up and I could not focus my eyes without tremendous strain. This strain caused my eyes to immediately have a severe muscle soreness behind them, and this strain made me a bit nauseous. I have noticed this happening a few times in the past from reading.

I have an optometrist appointment in 1 week. I will update everyone then. It is possible that this is caused by MAV, but I want to get to the bottom of this and fix it if its something else.

Hi Darren,

My feeling is that your visual issues are primarily migraine related. The sore neck and spaced out feeling are very common migraine symptoms. In people with MAV, and in those who have had a round of VN or BPPV which can trigger the entry into MAV (the Big Bang I often refer to) the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) tends to get screwed up. I’ve had this going on for 8 years now and it comes and goes. When symptomatic, my eyes start to play up and I am highly susceptible to visual vertigo. As long as migraine is in an active phase, eye symptoms are far worse (I get frequent blurred vision or the illusion of motion when staring at objects that are not moving, such as a hanging light).

I’m glad you’re giving propranolol a go. It will take weeks at an effective dose to know if it will work however. You may be a good candidate for some VRT to fix up uncompensated problems once you have migraine symptoms under control. On the other hand, the eye problems might stop before then with your meds and migraine lifestyle (see Survival Guide).

Scott 8)

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the reply! Thank you for all the work you have put into the forum. This is definitely the best forum I have ever used, and this compliment is comring from someone who is often called a forum troll! :lol: I look forward to contributing the the forum with updates of my personal experience and treatment.

I notice that my eyes feel a lot better when I wear my glasses. My glasses have astigmatism correction, and I haven’t worn them much since I got them because astigmatism correction takes a long time to get used to. But I have been wearing them more lately and my eyes dont feel as tired, even when I have been reading all day.

My conclusion, I have either MAV or inner ear damage. Either way, my brain relies upon my eyes more than usual to maintain balance. If my eyes are not functioning at full ability, that will be magnified since they are now working at 200% capacity.