Hello, my fellow four-eyed friends. If you think you are alone in the world of vision impairments, you are not. Based on findings by Global Eyesight Now, 6 out of 10 people wear glasses, have contact lenses, or have had eye surgery. The Vision Council of America also declared that 64% of adults wear eye glasses–including 93% of the 65-75 year old population, according to the Vision Impact Institute. In addition to those wearing eye glasses for medical purposes, a vast majority of our society uses sunglasses and other forms of eye wear on a daily basis. This totals to a multitude of people likely to be suffering from musculoskeletal problems caused by glasses. Something as seemingly insignificant as crooked glasses can negatively impact the entire kinetic chain of the body.
Crooked Glasses: Not only are they aesthetically unpleasant, but they are also displeasing to a person’s health. Unleveled frames can affect vision and the entire body posture. Lopsided glasses cause a need for adjustment of the head’s position to see properly through the optical center of the lens. However, a small change in head position has a surprisingly big impact. The bottom of the head (occiput) is delicately balanced on the first vertebrae of the spine, called the atlas. The atlas allows the greatest range of motion out of all the vertebrae in the spine. The vast amount of movement requires huge tension forces from the surrounding muscles and ligaments that are made to allow full range of motion for a short period of time, but are not made to hold a 10-12 pound head in space for a prolonged period of time. Holding the head in an abnormal position over time mainly causes a muscular imbalance in the neck. This imbalance travels down the kinetic chain and negatively affects the shoulders, hips, knees, and feet. When the head is in a certain position in space, the rest of the body compensates by altering its position to keep balanced tension throughout the body and to keep the head supported and level with the horizon.
Bad Eyes: Struggling to see the TV or that road sign? Intuitively, your head travels forward to get a closer look. If you have a bad prescription or poor eyesight, you will constantly struggle to see and you will spend a long period of time in a forward-head position. When your head is forward, there is extra weight stressing your neck. This causes the neck and upper back muscles to develop trigger points from being tired and overworked. Another adaptation to having a bad prescription is the tendency to look over the top of eye glasses. This also causes the same tension on the posterior neck muscles from the weight of the head in front of the line of gravity. If one eye is stronger than the other or when one eye is higher or lower than the other, caused by head tilting to find the optical center of the lens, depth perception and focus is affected. This can cause disorientation and may result in headaches and discomfort.
These small problems can cause:
– Further vision impairments – Cervical degeneration
– Shooting nerve pain from the neck – Muscle strains and tightness
– Loose ligaments – Jaw pain
– Shoulder pain – Headaches
– Abnormal gait
- Realign frames with a repair kit
- Consult your optometrist for glasses realignment or vision check ups.
- Practice proper posture.
- See a Physical Therapist to correct muscle imbalances to regain independence and mobility for everyday activities.
Thank You for Your Attention.
* To learn how Physical Therapy can serve you, see GetPT1st , Greg Todd , Renewal Rehab Paul Gough Physio Rooms, Functional Patterns , Aaron LeBauer , Kelly Starrett, The Movement Fix, Anatomy Trains, The Prehab Guys, Modern Manual Therapy, Dr. Ben Fung , Andrews University Doctor of Physical Therapy
Edited: Ffrancesca Famorcan
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