Chiropractic Care and Visual Disorders


Chiropractors are fully aware that chiropractic treatment can bring a lot of benefits to the patients, not only on the health issues or conditions they come for, but on other aspects of their health. They recognize the important impact restoring the alignment of the spine and health of the nervous system has on the patients’ overall health and wellness. They are not surprised of reports of healing of certain conditions of patients outside of their original health complaint, after chiropractic care. But patients cannot help but be pleasantly surprised. Among the many positive results both patients and chiropractors have seen is the patients’ healing of their visual disorders or improvement of their vision on top of the relief from their symptoms they brought to the chiropractic clinic for treatment.

Visual Disorders Addressed by Chiropractic Care

Recently, there have been a lot of literature filled with reports of cases and other articles that point to the benefits of chiropractic care to the patients, particularly on their visual condition, among them are:

  • A comprehensive review that included 71 references published by Terett, a chiropractor and Gorman, an ophthalmologist, described various ocular changes after chiropractic manipulation or adjustment, including changes in in oculomotor function, visual acuity papillary size and intraocular pressure.
  • Another paper from Gorman reported case studies wherein patients had improved visual fields upon cervical spine adjustment. The case studies involved different age groups.
  • Gorman also described how the vision of a male, 62 years old, who had been having monocular vision defect and neck strain with headaches for a week, improved dramatically following a week of manipulative therapy of the spine. The improvement in his vision was measured through computerized static perimetry.
  • A case report was published by Gilman and Bergstrand about an elderly male who had traumatic vision loss. Opthalmologic and optometric examination concluded that there was no appropriate conventional treatment for the disorder. The patient’s lost vision was restored after the chiropractic care. Accirding to the authors, the amazing results from this case has made behavioral optometrists become interested in the chiropractors’ work that resulted in the vision changes.
  • A retrospective review of twelve children with esophoria done by Schutte, Tesse and Jamison came up with the conclusion that patients with such conditions may respond to adjustment of the cervical spine.
  • Changjiang et al documented 114 cases of patients who had cervical spondylosis and associated visual disorders. 83% of the patients experienced visual improvement following manipulative treatment. 54 cases were followed up for at least six months and 91% of them showed stable therapeutic effect. Furthermore, there were cases of the blind regaining vision that were cited in the report.

The Spine and Optic Nerve Connection

Terrett proposed a model to explain the phenomena seen after chiropractic treatment in the different cases of visual disorders. He said that when in a relative ischemic state, the brain and cells in the retina hibernate, and are rendered incapable of their normal function. Upon normal blood supply restoration and improved oxygenation of these affected cells, normal function may be restored.

Gorman also pointed out that the effect of the spine on the optic nerve could be explained by the proximity of the vertebral artery to a derangement of the cervical spine that is activating the blood vessel’s nervous system.

Although chiropractic does not profess that it is a treatment for visual disorders such as blindness, esophoria and scotoma, correcting vertebral subluxations benefit many patients on many aspects, which usually have little or apparently nothing to do with musculoskeletal issues they complain about. Our awareness of the detrimental effects subluxation may cause on many different parts of our body should tell us to regularly visit our chiropractor for preventive health care.