Panic attacks are the term used to describe a severe and sudden form of anxiety where the sufferer experiences an unexpected episode of intense fear. This can be so extreme that it leads to the patient experiencing debilitating physical symptoms until the episode passes. There can be many different things that cause someone to experience a panic attack, but one of the lesser-known triggers is a condition known as BVD.
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BVD or binocular vision dysfunction to give it its full name is a surprisingly common ocular condition that is characterized by the misalignment of the eyes. This means that the line of sight from one eye tends to be slightly different from the line of sight from the other, placing heavy strain onto the eye muscles as they are constantly working to try and correct the alignment to bring what they can see into perfect focus.
When our vision is misaligned, it can cause us to experience a range of different issues. This can include problems with balance and coordination and visual over-stimulation. However, many people are surprised to learn that generalized anxiety and panic attacks are very common occurrences in patients with BVD. This is because BVD can make it much harder for you to safely and successfully navigate the world around you. As a result, patients can feel overwhelmed, lethargic and tired from the extra effort it requires to function day today, and even depressed about their situation. In some cases, particularly when the patient is under extreme stress, this can lead to panic attacks.
Every patient is unique, and this means that everyone responds slightly differently to a panic attack. However, there are many symptoms that patients have in common. If you have a panic attack, you can expect to experience any of the following symptoms:
Shortness of breath
Pins and needles
Ringing in your ears
A need to empty your bladder or bowels
Many of these symptoms appear in combination with one another, causing patients to feel completely disabled and unable to carry on doing whatever they were before the panic set in. Most panic attacks will only last between 5 and 20 minutes, but in rare cases, they can last for up to an hour.
The best way to treat panic attacks caused as a result of BVD is to treat the BVD itself. This can be done using an innovative solution known as micro-prism lenses. These are bespoke, specialist lenses that can be placed into virtually any glasses frame. Each lens contains a specific amount of ground prism which, once infused within the lens, makes it much easier for your eyes to work together effectively. With some tweaking, until the perfect balance is achieved, it is possible for patients to experience an 80% improvement in their symptoms, reducing their risk of experiencing panic attacks resulting from their BVD.
If you have been experiencing panic attacks that you think may be a result of binocular vision dysfunction, please schedule an appointment with our expert team. They will be able to assess and diagnose your visual difficulties and recommend a viable treatment.
To schedule, your consultation with our knowledgeable team of BVD experts at The Dizziness and Headache Optometry Center in Santa Barbara CA start by completing this simple questionnaire by clicking here.