Skip to main content

Driving on the highway can be a nerve-wracking experience for many people, but for some, it goes beyond normal anxiety. If you’ve ever felt like you were having a panic attack while driving, you’re not alone. In fact, it could be a symptom of a vision disorder known as vertical heterophoria or binocular vision dysfunction (BVD).

At NeuroVisual Specialists of Florida, we understand the frustration and danger that comes with experiencing dizziness and vertigo while driving, especially when making swift movements or driving toward the horizon on an open highway. These symptoms can be uncomfortable and affect your ability to drive safely in the long run.

Have you ever encountered any of the following while driving?

  1. Feelings of extreme anxiety, perhaps even needing to pull over.
  2. Sensation of a panic attack, particularly when driving on a wide-open highway toward the horizon.
  3. Persisting motion sensation even after stopping at a red light.
  4. Sudden blurriness or difficulty focusing on the road.
  5. Feeling detached from your body or having a floating sensation while driving.
  6. Fear of driving over a bridge due to a perceived inability to drive straight across it.
  7. Sensation of other cars drifting into your lane, even when they’re not.

It’s crucial not to ignore these symptoms as they could be indicators of a binocular vision disorder like vertical heterophoria.

Understanding Vertical Heterophoria

Vertical heterophoria occurs when there is a slight misalignment of the eyes, leading to eye strain and fatigue. Even though the misalignment may be subtle, it can progressively wear down your eye muscles over time. Certain types of motion are more likely to exacerbate the condition, which could explain why you feel dizzy while driving.

Quick transitions between movements, such as shifting your head from side to side or bending over rapidly, often trigger symptoms of vertical heterophoria. Some individuals even experience sudden bouts of nausea while walking. To start receiving appropriate treatment, an accurate diagnosis is necessary.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Vertical heterophoria is frequently misdiagnosed as headaches or minor vertigo, causing some individuals to go years without proper treatment. At our clinic, we utilize a comprehensive range of visual tests to identify the underlying issues with your eyes and devise an appropriate treatment plan. Routine eye exams may not capture the subtle signs of visual misalignment responsible for your binocular vision dysfunction.

Once we determine which eye muscles are misaligned, we can provide relief through the use of prism glasses. These glasses incorporate specially shaped lenses that bend light according to the alignment of your eyes. By doing so, the strain on your eyes is reduced, allowing the overworked muscles to rest. Instead of your eyes exerting themselves to correct the image, the prism lens takes on that role.

Contact Us Today

At NeuroVisual Specialists of Florida and iSee VisionCare, we are a trusted optometrist offering a wide range of services for the entire family. From eye exams and glasses to contact lenses and pediatric vision care, we have you covered. As the only neurovisual specialist in Florida, we are dedicated to addressing your unique visual needs.

If you’re experiencing symptoms like feeling panic while driving, dizziness, or other visual disturbances, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Contact us by phone at (561) 733-9008 or through our online contact form. We are here to help you regain your visual comfort and ensure your safety on the road.