Vision Specialists of Michigan, Patient Stories

11 years of misery ended with one visit

Nearly 12 years ago I was in a traffic accident, and several months later I was hit hard by a vicious dizzy spell. I had no idea what was happening to me. I was so nauseous I couldn’t eat, so dizzy I didn’t want to move.

Prior to the attack I was healthy, fit, strong–a year later, I was obese from lack of activity (bad balance) and a bad diet (being constantly nauseous made me crave mostly sugar). My excellent attendance record at work was shot, and now I missed 3-5 weeks of work every year because of my inability to drive or even get out of bed. Even on my good days I had to fight nausea and to constantly be alert and grab things when I lost my balance.

I was sent first to University of Michigan’s Vestibular Testing Center, where I was told that “something” was wrong with my inner ears and “be grateful you don’t have cancer.” I was stunned by the lack of compassion or understanding of what I was enduring each day. Repeated visits brought no new treatments or relief, so I stopped going. Specialists were unable to help me. After receiving a formal reprimand for my poor attendance at work, I was desperate for a solution and got an appointment with a neurologist who was recommended to me because of his willingness to try new techniques. He suggested that the problem might be my eyes, not my ears, and referred me to Dr. Debby Feinberg.

I’m fortunate in that the clinic is only a 2 hour drive away. Within 15 minutes of putting on my first pair of glasses, the constant ache in my neck disappeared. The next day, for the first time in 11 years, I was able to stop taking my anti-nausea medication. I could walk in crowds again and not lurch around like a drunk. I could enter unfamiliar territory and not worry about where I was placing my feet. Family and friends had grown used to having to clutch my arm and guide me around like I was blind, and they still can’t believe the change. My mother is forever asking me, “You’re OK? You’re really OK in here, with all these people, looking around like this?” I used to keep my eyes fixed on the ground.

I’m still adjusting to my new glasses and my health insurance doesn’t cover the cost, but it’s well worth it to me to have my life back. I will be forever grateful to the doctors and staff here. I just hope the rest of the medical community will learn about vertical heterophoria and this treatment soon.

– J.P., 38 y/o