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Question about Eyes

Hi as you know I have recently been diagnosed with sinus disease which may or may not be a cause/part of this whole mess over the last 2 yrs. I wanted to ask a question about eyes and how they play a part in this. I find that when I go out walking I am relatively ok to begin with (headache, facial pain and balance a little off) but then suddenly it’s as if my head “inflates”, my eyes feel weird like really strained and my balance is definitely unsteady especially on turning or looking down and back up. Similarly in artificial lighting all of a sudden my head feels inflated and then the lights appear to dim like they are on half power. In either scenario, if I sit down for as little as 3 mins with my eyes CLOSED, when I open them again this mad sensation is gone. I was chatting with my friend Nin this morning and she said this happens to her too and she very aptly describes it as overstimulation and then closing the eyes is “resetting back to baseline”.
Have any of you come across this before and have you found that your meds have addressed this? It’s such an awful sensation that seems to strike randomly - some days when I walk the dog this doesn’t happen at all.


eyes are connected to the inner ear via the ocular reflex.

If your inner ear has lost homeostasis, it could be sending confusing signals to the brain and eyes.

This might be causing nystagmus, which might be causing the eye strain and in addition might be further confusing the brain.

The question remains though, why would a sinus issue affect the inner ear? pressure?

Could your sinus dysfunction be directly affecting the pressure in your inner ear by messing up the normal functioning of your eustachian tube (which sinus issues are known to do).

There’s probably another potential route:

I’ve noticed that colds make my inner ear problem worse … I think the activation of the virus causes the body to react and certain processes get ramped up. Having already got a dodgy inner ear fluid balance I think this makes my situation worse. (no I’m not talking about viruses inside my inner ear, it’s an indirect relationship).

I wonder if your sinus issues could be throwing out homeostasis and that is also affecting your inner ear?

THEN on top of this you have a neurological reaction and probably some more feedback loops. Closing your eyes might reset some of these reflexes and neurological responses and you are once again calm a feel better.

This stuff is UNBELIEVABLY complex with so many interconnected systems and processes so I would not take my word for it, but I’m not sure science can yet answer this stuff either.


No.they haven’t an answer. Well they better not have cos I spent a fortune trying to extract one from alot of ‘top eye experts’ (because I have an existing life-long eye condition because if which that was my first call when MAV arrived) and all I ever got was alot of coughing, and flannel! Helen

Everything @turnitaround says is correct. As you have a sinus disorder diagnosis seems odd it will affect your eyes but, as my tame optician says, ‘Eyes IS Balance’. I also remember reading in order to maintain balance the human body needs total 100% function from a certain number of inputs (eyes being one, ears another, etc). It can cope with one not working provided the others are all 100%, and the deficit cannot be made up by say two other parts by 60% say. Where this idea comes from and further details I’d need to check.

With regard to your, and @nin’s current experience I’d say this is most probably caused by light sensitivity. Thst would explain the ‘doesn’t always happen’, and the closing eyes reset. Think it through with that in mind and see if it makes any sense. Try dark glasses and do bear in mind that dull winter sky can be as bad if not worse than sunshine. Contrast Sensitivity, light sky, dark land. Check horizons, Helen

Thanks James
I am really hoping that the sinus issue is upsetting my ears and my balance too as it gives me hope that once I have the surgery a lot of this will resolve. At the same time I am preparing myself that it may not be the silver bullet and that I will have to get meds that will address this. I tried Ami in the beginning but had to stop due to increased heart rate - not sure if Nortriptyline would do the same. Or perhaps I would give Venlafaxine a go again. I have been doing reasonably well over the last few weeks and I have put this down to using a Sinus Rinse daily - this has drastically improved the blocked ears feeling so a prob with sinus definitely affects ears. If the inflated head and resulting strained eyes wud just go I cud live with the headache and face pressure.

It probably won’t be an instant cure, even if it is the cure. If your inner ear homeostasis has been thrown out, I suspect it will take a long time for it to be normalised again … there are probably tonnes of processes that are modified to work around your sinus issue and if that is fixed there is probably a huge load of restabilisation that may need to take place over months if not longer.

Or you might be lucky and it’ll be like coming out into the sunshine :slight_smile:

You are best to discuss prognosis with someone qualified who has seen this issues and resolutions.

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Thanks Helen this makes so much sense…my ears are affected by my sinus so that’s one area not at 100%. The sinus disease has also pulled my orbital floor down so now my right eye sits slightly lower than my left - I wonder if this is enough (on top of the ear blocking/unblocking) to now give me 2 parts of my balance system not at 100%. I am due to see an eye surgeon soon and I will be sure to ask him if the downward shift of my eye, even though it’s not blurring my vision, is enough to affect my balance.
Once again I am so glad this forum exists…there is so much wisdom and common sense on here - you literally couldn’t buy it.
Thanks so much


I’m no expert but I understand it is possible for Vertical Heterophoria (where one eye sights higher than the other) can in itself cause most symptoms we on here associate with MAV. It can be congenital or caused by trauma and is generally treated with prisms in spectacles rather than surgery. Helen

Helen I am picking myself up off the floor here as you just reminded me that I came across that term way way back at the start of this 2 yrs ago and I had forgotten completely forgotten about it until you mentioned it. Eek you would think I would have remembered it when the ct scan showed orbital dystopia. My brain is literally like a sieve!! Thank you so so much for reminding me - I will definitely ask the eye surgeon if this is a factor. It might explain why my current glasses and the previous two pairs just never felt right no matter how many times I went back to the optician.
Am very grateful

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You are welcome. Sounds like you and I had similar journeys. I ‘did’ the Eye Tour long ago, when I was still episodic and years before a ‘probable MAV’ diagnosis. Mine started with an optician I sought out who had been trained in Vision Therapy and I did the rounds from there. After seeing a variety of eye specialists the only thing that came to light was the fact that none of them could tell me anything about a connection between my eyes and dizziness. I tested negative for Vertical Heterophoria. So I’ll be very interested to hear how you fare. What type of eye specialist are you scheduled to see. I was surprised to find eye specialists seem even more specialist than all the others. Most frustrating. I wonder now how the experts would decide whether your problem stems from sinus or Vertical Heterophoria. Wonder if the VH would rectify post sinus correction. Well, you never know, but you may yet find a valid, correctable reason for your MAV symptoms which would really be an achievement. Helen

Hi Helen I am waiting on a referral so I don’t yet know who i am due to see but I will make sure I get tested for VH even if I have to be referred onwards. What does the testing involve ie. Is it only a certain type of eye specialist who can do it?

I am beginning to wonder now if this weird eye strain I get, which is relieved by closing my eyes for a few mins as mentioned earlier, could in fact be VH or from the orbital dystopia and NOT from “migraine” at all. The sinus issue has definitely pulled my eye down - looking back on photos I definitely didn’t have it when I got married in 1999 but I did have it mildly in photos from 2005 after my son was born and it’s way more obvious now.
The plot thickens!!

You need an Opthalmic Surgeon or opthalmologist. It’s specialist equipment. If you use Search facility you’ll find material on VH I’ve posted previously. Logically it would be best to delve deeper into this option before sinus surgery I’d say. However/If ever anybody sorts out which causes what, heaven knows. Best rely on the experts there. Not much choice really. VH may be the clue which gets you out of this maze. Helen

Presumably all this ‘head inflated’ sensation has cleared following your attaining 150mg Venlafaxine and adding in the Propranolol XR but just reading through this older post again farther down the line it’s amazing how things do change in more ways than one. I stick by my original post about that sensation being light sensitivity. I’m sure that is what it is/was and allowing for the fact everybody describes unusual symptoms quite differently I must admit although I recognised your description At that time I’d experienced a huge amount of light sensitivity but without that symptom. That is until the last few weeks. Only yesterday and several days last week outside walking I had those symptoms exactly as you described. Mine cleared a few minutes after the change of light resulting from going back indoors.