Vertigo Goggles: Seeing your way to relief
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- People who have it say it's like you're a little tipsy, but a whole lot worse. Thirty-five percent of Americans over age 40 live with vestibular problems, disorders like vertigo that make their world spin out of control. Now patients are seeking relief with goggles.
Cheryl Whalen's world turned upside down three years ago when she suddenly began falling down uncontrollably.
"I got real dizzy, I was blacking out, I couldn't see. I'd try to do things like bend down, pick up something and I'd fall right to the floor," said Whalen, a vertigo patient.
Whalen had BPPV, the most common type of vertigo. It develops when a small piece of bone-like calcium breaks free and floats within the tube of the inner ear. It sends the brain confusing messages about your body's position.
"They can actually get into the fluid in the semicircular canal and as your head moves the particle moves too, it causes dizziness," said Sue Stanfield, PT Vestibular Rehab Specialist at Banner Thunderbird Medicine.
Now, a new treatment could help. Infrared goggles let therapists get a close-up view of Whalen's eyes. They're looking for small twitching motions that indicate vertigo and involvement with a tiny particle within the inner ear.
A series of head positioning can trigger nystagmus, a twitching of the eye that tell therapists where the particles are. Once the nystagmus is found, the therapist performs a procedure called canalith repositioning to move the particle out of harm's way.
"So you are actually kind of rolling that particle through the fluid in the semicircular canal and then it will settle into the membrane area where it's supposed to be," Stanfield explained.
Eighty percent of patients find success with the procedure. After several therapy sessions, Whalen became one of them. Now she's back on her feet, without all the dizziness.
Studies have shown that canalith repositioning therapy is safe and effective for treating patients with vertigo. For some patients, more than one session is needed to relieve symptoms. This therapy is generally covered by medical insurance.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Sue Stanfield, P.T
health watch, margot kim
- Operation Bulldog cracks down on gang members
- Target: 40M card accounts may be breached
- Figure skating champ Boitano says he's gay 39 min ago
- New Mexico Supreme Court: Same-sex marriage legal
- Elderly woman critically injured in Fresno house fire
- Fresno attorney reenacts testimony from Kai
- Man accused of killing Los Banos boy in crash changes plea
- Teen girl found dead in Madera County stream
- Homicide investigated at Porterville Developmental Center
- Valley schools prepare for new transgender law
- Valley business gear up for next Fresno State game
- FUSD improves nationally but still behind peers
- Wood burning contributes to bad air quality in the Valley
- Bad air keeps some Valley students indoors
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos