Dizziness in Children

Could it be their eyes? Get treatment for your child’s dizziness.

Dizziness in Children

Could it be their eyes? Get treatment for your child’s dizziness.

vertical heterophoria

What Causes Dizziness in Children?

Dizziness in children can make your child completely miserable - They might have difficulty attending school, paying attention in the classroom, and it can also impact their emotional well being.

A child having frequent dizziness might also complain of headaches and feeling nauseous. But did you know that headache and dizziness in your child could actually be the result of a slight misalignment between their eyes? This subtle misalignment is known as Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD).

Binocular Vision Dysfunction occurs when the slight misalignment between your child’s eyes causes your child’s eyes to be out of sync with each other. This makes it very difficult for the brain to make one clear image from the two misaligned images. Most people’s brains can transform two separate but aligned images into one clear image, known as Binocular Vision. But in children with Binocular Vision Dysfunction, it becomes difficult for the brain to process the two misaligned images into one clear image.

In order to fix this problem, the brain will force the eye aligning muscles to realign the eyes. However, the misalignment returns almost immediately, and over time, this continuous cycle of misalignment/realignment places an enormous amount of strain on the eye muscles, resulting in dizziness in children, as well as headaches, nausea, and many other symptoms.

Clumsiness in Children with BVD

Clumsiness in Children with BVD

In addition to being dizzy, children with BVD often experience clumsiness. In younger children, some clumsiness is not unusual, but coordination should improve with age. Persistent clumsiness that is not age-appropriate could indicate BVD.

Learn more about clumsiness in children with BVD.

Headaches in Children with BVD

Children experiencing vision problems tend to frequently squint and strain their eyes in an effort to see the board at school or to read books and homework. Children with BVD are straining their eye muscles in an attempt to maintain eye alignment. These problems can ultimately lead to headaches throughout the day.

Learn more about headaches in children with BVD.

Can a Concussion Be the Cause of My Child’s Dizziness?

When a concussion occurs, it’s common for the visual system of the brain to become injured, resulting in vision misalignment and BVD.

Learn more about concussions and BVD.

Clumsiness in Children with BVD

Can Dizziness Be a Sign of Eye Problems? Conditions Often Confused with Binocular Vision Dysfunction

While Binocular Vision Dysfunction is a common condition, dizziness in children is often misdiagnosed as one of the below conditions, despite many of these being extremely rare.

  • Vertigo: Children feeling dizzy who have been diagnosed with vertigo experience episodes of being unbalanced, or feel as if they are spinning. This is caused by a problem within the inner ear. Typically, when a child is experiencing vertigo their symptoms can be alleviated by traditional methods. But if your child is experiencing dizziness and is unable to find relief, it could actually be Binocular Vision Dysfunction.
  • Vestibular Migraine/Migraine Associated Vertigo: Migraine headaches can be preceded by a distorted vision which is called an aura. This aura is caused by spasms of the arteries in the visual region of the brain, causing decreased blood flow to that region, which causes blurred and distorted vision. A similar mechanism occurs with vestibular migraine, where there is a spasm in the arteries of the balance centers of the brain, causing decreased blood flow resulting in dizziness. Vestibular migraine is treated with medications that are used to treat migraine headaches including medications that decrease artery spasm, as well as anti-depressant medication. However, if your child is suffering from headaches and/or dizziness due to Binocular Vision Dysfunction, traditional treatments might not provide relief.
  • Psychogenic Dizziness/Chronic Subjective Dizziness/Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness: Children with Binocular Vision Dysfunction have often had previous evaluations where the exact cause of their dizziness was not determined. The result is often doctors believing the dizziness is a psychiatric problem and that the child is making up the symptoms. Of course, in children with Binocular Vision Dysfunction, the symptoms are all too real.
  • Meniere’s Disease: While extremely rare, children suffering from Meniere’s Disease have problems with dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, unsteady walking, imbalance, and/or ringing in the ears. Some of our patients have been diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease because they present with similar symptoms due to their vision misalignment, and when treated with our vision aligning lenses, are able to find relief.
  • Vestibular Disorders: The vestibular system includes the inner ear and parts of the brain which control balance. When this area becomes damaged, your child can experience chronic dizziness and severe imbalance. However, when dizziness and balance issues are actually caused by a vision misalignment, traditional treatments for vestibular disorders usually do not help, but treatment with vision aligning lenses usually do.

If your child has recently been diagnosed with any of the above conditions without experiencing any relief, it could be a result of BVD.

BVD Symptoms in Children

If your child has BVD, the symptoms will vary depending on their age. Children experiencing frequent dizziness will often also experience the following symptoms.

For children ages 4 to 8-years-old, common behaviors and symptoms of Binocular Vision Dysfunction can include:

  • Poor handwriting (poor spacing, writing letters too big or small)
  • Difficulty reading
  • Avoiding activities
  • Playing with toys very close to their face
  • Sitting close to the TV
  • Difficulty identifying shapes, colors and numbers that are age-appropriate
  • Difficulty seeing the class board
  • Frequently bumping into objects
  • Difficulty catching balls
  • Stomach aches and headaches at school or away from home
  • Light sensitivity
  • Covering one eye to see
  • Anxiety in public places
  • Frequent squinting in order to see

Find out if your 4 to 8-year-old is experiencing dizziness due to Binocular Vision Dysfunction:

For children ages 9 to 13-years-old, common behaviors and symptoms of Binocular Vision Dysfunction can include:

  • Repeatedly bumping into things while walking
  • Having difficulty completing homework due to headaches and nausea
  • Repeatedly reading the same things over and over
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Closing one eye to make it easier to see
  • Blurred vision when using the computer
  • Blurred vision or tired eyes when looking at the blackboard in class
  • Verbal skills that are ahead of reading skills
  • Frequent blinking

Find out if your 9 to 13-year-old is experiencing dizziness due to Binocular Vision Dysfunction:

How is BVD in Children Diagnosed?

To determine if your child’s dizziness and other symptoms are the result of Binocular Vision Dysfunction, we suggest you first see your primary care physician or specialist to rule out other causes of their symptoms. If no cause is found for their symptoms, then BVD might be the issue.

When you visit Vision Specialists of Michigan, you will be asked to complete a specialized questionnaire designed to screen for those who might have BVD, as well as complete a detailed Health History form.

An eye exam is performed to determine the need for correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism (a common imperfection in the eye’s curvature).

Following the standard eye exam, a specialized exam is performed (NeuroVisual Evaluation) to determine if your child has visual misalignment. If diagnosed with BVD, your child will be fitted with a trial version of new prescription lenses. Most children notice a significant improvement in their symptoms within just a few minutes of putting on the trial lenses. You can expect to spend approximately 3 hours in our office during your visit.

How Do You Know If Dizziness Is Serious?

Dizziness is serious if it is affecting your child’s quality of life. When children regularly experience dizziness, it can result in them missing out on social activities with friends and it can also result in them missing school. Both of these factors can delay their cognitive development, and reading and learning skills. Dizziness in children can also lead to a misdiagnosis of ADD or ADHD.

Fortunately, if your child complains of dizziness frequently, there is treatment available.

Treatment for Dizziness in Children

If your child is feeling dizzy throughout the day or week due to a slight misalignment between their eyes, our micro-prism lenses can correct their misalignment. These specialized lenses at Vision Specialists of Michigan are different from standard lenses in that they specifically bend light in a way that the image seen by the eye is moved into the position it needs to be in - the result is the image is realigned and corrected, markedly reducing or eliminating your child’s dizziness, headaches, nausea, and other symptoms.

The average patient will notice a 50% reduction of symptoms by the end of their first visit. Our aligning lenses will be perfected and fine-tuned over the next several visits, helping your child to continue to feel better.

Is your child experiencing dizziness? It could be their eyes.

Want to learn more about Binocular Vision Dysfunction?

Watch these videos of BVD patient experiences:

Veteran's Story of Binocular Vision Dysfunction and Triumph over TBI

Purple Heart Veteran's Vision Misalignment Caused by Traumatic Brain Injury

Professional Colleagues Discuss Binocular Vision Dysfunction

People also view


How the NeuroVisual Examination Differs From a Routine Eye Exam


A New Approach to the Treatment of Dizziness


When It Hurts to Read: Children With Reading Difficulties

It may be your eyes

  • American Academy Optometry
  • American Optometric Association
  • Michigan Optometric Association
  • VEDA
  • Neuro Optometry Rehabilitation Association

Dr. Sandy DiPonio earned her optometry degree from Illinois College of Optometry in 1996. She is a highly skilled and experienced eye care professional dedicated to giving her patients of all ages excellent and compassionate care. She has a wide variety of experience in binocular vision, pediatric and adult eye care, ocular disease and contact lens fitting. She strives to provide each of her patients the best quality of life they can achieve with their vision through knowledge and education of treatment options.

Dr. DiPonio is a member of the American Optometric Society and Michigan Optometric Society.

Dr. Sally Hoey has been practicing optometry since graduating from Michigan College of Optometry in 2001. During her time in optometry school, she developed an interest in binocular vision, culminating in a senior thesis involving binocular vision.

Prior to joining Vision Specialists of Michigan, Dr. Hoey specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of vision-related learning problems as well as other binocular vision disorders. Her other areas of interest include specialty contact lens fittings and treating dry eye. Dr. Hoey strives to provide her patients with clear, comfortable vision while meeting their individual needs at the same time.

Dr. Hoey had the opportunity to provide eye care on an optometric mission trip to Guyana, South America and vision screenings at a local medical clinic. She is a member of the American Optometric Association, Michigan Optometric Association, Metropolitan Detroit Optometric Society and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

Dr. Jennifer Place graduated with honors from Michigan College of Optometry in 2001.

Before joining Vision Specialists of Michigan, she specialized in treating pediatric and adult patients with binocular vision disorders and vision-related learning problems, as well as fitting specialty contact lenses and managing various types of ocular disease. She enjoys working with patients with unique visual needs, and she takes great pride in providing all patients with highly customized care.

Dr. Place has volunteered for Opening Eyes, a program that provides eye exams to the athletes of the Michigan Special Olympics, and she participated in an international mission to St. Lucia to provide eye care to those in need. Dr. Place is a member of the Detroit Optometric Society, the Michigan Optometric Association, the American Optometric Association, the College of Vision Development, and the Optometric Extension Program Foundation.

Dr. Mary Jo Ference has been practicing optometry since 1990 upon graduating from Ferris State University- Michigan College of Optometry, and is certified in Low Vision Rehabilitation. She has worked at Sinai-Grace Hospital systems for over 20 years before joining Vision Specialists of Michigan in 2013 to work with binocular vision disorders. Her clinical areas of expertise include visual rehabilitation of pediatric and adult patients who have suffered from brain trauma, injury or disease. She has taught both optometry and ophthalmology residents at Sinai Grace Hospital. Dr. Ference has sat on numerous boards, including Sinai Grace Hospital, Berry Out-Patient Surgical Center, and Seedlings Braille Books for the Blind. She is actively involved in area school districts to provide education, training and access for students, teachers, OT’s and PT’s to eye care service rehabilitation information. Dr. Ference has lectured extensively nationally and internationally.

Dr. Debby Feinberg began practicing Optometry in Oakland County in 1983, upon graduating from Illinois College of Optometry. She joined her father, Dr. Paul C. Feinberg, at Mall Optical Center, which was located in Summit Place Mall.

Since 1995 Dr. Feinberg has been developing the field of NeuroVisual Medicine which is the optometric subspecialty that identifies and treats neurological / medical symptoms that originate directly or indirectly in the visual system.

Dr. Feinberg has been performing pioneering work with Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD), a condition where a vision misalignment (frequently subtle) creates difficulties with the two eyes working together to create a single 3-dimensional image, and difficulties with the two eyes following that image as it moves.

The symptoms caused by BVD are not usually associated with problems with the visual system, and include headache, dizziness, anxiety and panic, persistent post-concussive symptoms, gait instability and balance problems, frequent falls, neck pain, motion sickness, nausea, and reading and learning problems.

In 2004. Dr. Feinberg established Vision Specialists of Birmingham, specifically designing the practice to accommodate the needs of the NeuroVisual Medicine patient.

In 2011, the office moved to its current location in Bloomfield Hills and updated its name to Vision Specialists of Michigan.