The Most Frequent Binocular Vision Problems

binocular glasses in front of flower

Does this scenario look familiar to you? You work from 9 to 5, and during the day, you occasionally feel discomfort in the region surrounding your eyes. This is when you take a few seconds to look at the wall in front of you, even close your eyes a few times to relax your eyes, but start noticing a headache developing.

You decide to go play basketball with your coworkers; that will definitely relax you after this horrible day. Despite being in the lead, you know you missed a few scores and stumbled with your teammates a few times. 

Most individuals ascribe these situations to general exhaustion, but what we don’t realize is that we may be suffering from binocular vision problems.

Our brain is a sophisticated organ that can combine two distinct pictures into a single clear image. For this to happen, it is critical for the eyes to be perfectly aligned. Binocular vision occurs when the eyes act in tandem and are precisely in synchronization at all times, allowing them to convey a clear, focused image to our brains.

Many people experience trouble with binocularity on a daily basis. For some, it manifests through lack of concentration and frequent headaches, and for others, dizziness or even severe fatigue around the eyes. But those are not the only binocularity problems. More serious vision problems occur when both eyes don’t work as a team. 

Binocular Vision Problems Come In Different Shapes And With Different Names

Binocular vision disorders impact up to 20% of optometry patients and can impair their ability to see correctly with both eyes. Binocularity impairments have an impact on everyday tasks such as driving, reading, viewing a computer screen, and engaging in sports. They can also affect the student’s ability to perform at college or school.

When binocular vision is impaired, the brain does not use both eyes evenly, which can lead to any of the following serious visual issues. 

1. Strabismus

Strabismus, often known as “squint,” is a condition in which one eye turns inward, outward, or higher than the other.

Each eye is supported by six muscles that, theoretically, collaborate to keep a consistent gaze. When these groups of muscles do not work together, it can lead to strabismus. Since they aren’t aligned, the two eyes wander in opposite directions and focus on distinct things. 

Two distinct pictures are sent to the brain. The brain starts to prefer the dominant eye and disregard the other eye when it can’t merge the pictures. Strabismus manifests itself in a variety of ways, including double vision, crossed eyes, misaligned eyes, uncoordinated eye movement, and impaired depth perception. 

If the inferior, weaker eye isn’t treated, it might deteriorate into amblyopia.

Individuals who suffer from strabismus may have trouble establishing a normal binocular vision and have issues perceiving depth.

Affected individuals may be subject to issues like:

  • Double or blurry vision
  • An illusion of motion on printed pages
  • Fatigue around the eyes
two eyes from two persons
Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash

2. Amblyopia (lazy eye)

Amblyopia is the leading cause of binocular vision problems in children and occurs when the neural pathway linking the eye to the brain doesn’t develop normally, resulting in a loss of detailed vision in one eye. 

Amblyopia can emerge for a variety of reasons, although strabismus is the most prevalent one. It can be brought on by astigmatism, cataracts, nearsightedness, or farsightedness. 

Some or all of the following signs and symptoms are present in patients with amblyopia:

  • Challenges in learning and/or reading
  • Abnormally poor visual-motor coordination
  • Having trouble measuring the depth
  • Lack of ability to concentrate
  • Lowered capacity to distinguish between shades of color

3. Convergence insufficiency

Convergence is the ability of the eyes to concentrate from far to near and converge on a singular location in space in order to form a consistent image presented to the brain.

Up to fifteen percent of the population may experience convergence insufficiency.

When reading a book or using a computer, a person with convergence insufficiency has difficulty focusing their eyes together.

It manifests itself in a variety of ways:

  • Discomfort from prolonged, close work
  • Words appear to float around the page while reading
  • Having trouble seeing clearly
  • Continual headaches

4. Convergence excess

The eyes suffer from convergence excess when they bend inward an abnormal amount when focused on a nearby object.

Symptoms of over-convergence may include:

  • Difficulties seeing clearly
  • Blurred vision at close range
  • Issues with prolonged close work
  • Continual headaches

Treating Binocularity Problems

Most frequent binocularity issues can be treated with simple eye exercises that don’t last long and can be done at your own home. But if none of those work in your favor, you may be experiencing a more serious condition. 

Talk to your doctor right away if you think you have binocular vision problems; otherwise, the condition will progress and cause you serious harm. Be sure to bring a detailed description of your symptoms, the length of time they’ve lasted, and the reasons you suspect binocularity problems as the underlying cause.

Optometric tests are usually rapid screenings that cause no harm and can be scheduled at any time. So don’t shy away from the problems, as they can cause more trouble in the long run.