How does our body tell us where we are?

Published on
January 5, 2022

A lot of the time, I have patients that come in to us here at Amplify EyeCare Manhattan, and they have balance or dizziness issues. I talk to them about some of the aspects that create balance or dizziness issues. But first, you have to know how those systems work together to tell you where you are in space. Our body receives input from three different systems, each acting like a leg of a tripod to help keep us balanced. Without the proper input from one of these systems a person can feel like they're uncomfortable walking without worrying that they're going to fall, or maybe have fallen in the past. Some patients feel like they are not walking on stable ground like the concrete might feel soft. 

The First System: Kinesthetic System

Some feedback we get from the kinesthetic system is from walking. When we're feeling the ground, our feet give us the signal that we're walking on something hard or soft. So that's one leg of this tripod that our body relies on, to be able to tell us where we are, which directions up and where are we in space and where things are in space.

The Second System: The Vestibular System

The other two systems are much more important and our body relies on them a lot more. One is the vestibular system, and that's in the inner ear. And it's a regulating system that tells us which direction is up. It lets us know where we are in space. And it's relied on for balance.

The Third System: The Visual System

The third prong of this tripod of balance is your visual system. When your eyes work together, they tell your body where things are in space and where you are by pointing at them and localizing how far away that object is. It's called stereopsis or depth perception. Our eyes kind of work as a team to coordinate to tell you this thing is 10 feet away, this thing I think is two feet away. (Unlike car mirrors, which always appear further than they actually are). The visual system relies on good vision in both eyes. But more than that, it relies on an agreement between the eyes, the eyes, working together in tandem, to tell you where things are in space. If you're having a vision issue, you can create huge problems with dizziness and balance, and usually those problems can be helped with either a special type of glasses (prisms), or vision therapy to help your eyes learn how to work as a team better. 

Should I visit an eye doctor if I have balance or dizziness issues?

I always recommend that if anybody's having balance or dizziness issues, they should be checked out for an underlying vision issue. This is specifically tested by a developmental or behavioural optometrist that will look at things that go beyond the health of your eyes. This exam will look at how your eyes work together as a team, and how your eyes work in different positions of looking. Those things kind of allow us to look inside the component of vision that is through the brain, enabling the eye doctor to see how it is functioning. Through this deeper look at your vision our eye doctor can then address the cause of your balance or dizziness through a personalized treatment plan.

 

Learn more about balance and dizziness issues here. 

https://amplifyeyecare-manhattan.com/neuro/dizziness-and-balance-problems-related-to-vision/

Testimonials


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.


Allen B.
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