On July 24, 2017, the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published the results of a case in which a teenage girl had regained the vision she had lost in her left eye three years earlier. The vision loss was the result of surgery to repair blood vessels in the front of her brain.
The study begins by reporting that postoperative vision loss (POVL) is a rare complication that is generally associated with surgeries of the spine or heart. The incidence of this type of complication is very rare being less than two tenths of one percent according to studies. There are five types of POVL and the medical treatment for this problem varies according to the type of POVL the patient has suffered from. The study reported that most of the medical procedures are not successful with these cases.
In this case, an 18-year-old woman went to the chiropractor because of a variety of health issues. It was reported that she was suffering from mid-back, neck and low back pain, shoulder pain, and numbness and tingling in both left and right arms and into her left leg and foot. For the past four years, she was also suffering from migraines, seizures, tinnitus, vertigo and digestive disorders.
Her history revealed that four years prior, she had suffered a stroke due to a malformation of blood vessels in her brain. Surgery was performed to repair the blood vessel structure in her right temporal lobe. Immediately following surgery, she noticed blurry vision and a loss of the lateral vision in her left eye. It was at this time that she also started suffering migraine headaches four times per week, and she started having seizures that resulted in multiple falls. Over the next several years, the woman’s vision in her left eye continued to diminish until she was totally blind in her left eye. She was placed on a variety of medications to address her issues.
A chiropractic examination was performed and consisted of palpation, spinal range of motion, postural and leg length analysis, thermography studies and x-rays performed by an imaging specialist. The conclusion of these tests was the presence of subluxation at the top of her neck, known as the atlas. A specific form of adjustment was performed to address this subluxation.
After the first visit, the patient did not notice any changes. However, immediately after the second visit, the patient reported “sparkles” in her left eye. The patient was told to remain in the office and rest for 15 minutes. During that 15 minute rest, the patient completely regained the sight in her left eye. The eyesight in her left eye continued working through the remainder of her care. In addition, the patient reported a resolution of neck and back pain and reported a reduction of frequency of seizures and migraine headaches.
In their conclusion the authors stated, “This case study presented an 18-year-old female with vision loss in her left eye that occurred after brain surgery. After two upper cervical chiropractic adjustments her vision was restored while still in the chiropractor’s office. The immediate improvement in her vision and its direct result to chiropractic adjustments adds to the evidence of chiropractic care and its influence in visual field perception.”