Woman's Vision Restored Following Chiropractic

Research News Staff
Woman's Vision Restored Following Chiropractic

Research Reveals Relationship Between the Spine, Nervous System and Vision 

Recent research reporting on improvement in an 18 year old young woman undergoing chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing people with visual loss. The research, reported in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, includes a review of the literature demonstrating numerous effects on the eyes following chiropractic care including improvement in vision, visual acuity, oculomotor function, intraocular pressure, and pupillary size.


“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and vision” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “Basic science research shows that the eye has an intimate anatomical relationship with the nervous system and the spine. Functions of the eye can be affected by the structure and movement of the spine.” 

One such mechanism is through changes in blood flow to the eye which is controlled by the nervous system. Irritation of the nerves in the neck may arise from vertebral subluxation in the neck or upper back. Chiropractors treat vertebral subluxations and chiropractic adjustments to the neck and upper back have been shown to effectively improve visual function by means of an effect on the autonomic nervous system. 

“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy. “And now we are seeing more and more basic science and clinical research showing the relationship between abnormal spinal function and visual disorders.” 

In the case reported on in the research, an 18-year-old female presented to a chiropractor reporting loss of vision in her left eye of two years duration along with migraines, seizures, ringing in the ears, dizziness and digestive disorders. She also had neck and back pain, shoulder pain and numbness and tingling in both left and right arms and into her left leg and foot. 

The patient suffered a stroke four years prior due to arteriovenous malformation. She had surgery to repair the arteriovenous structure and immediately following surgery she reported blurry vision that progressed to complete visual loss. She also began to experience all the other symptoms.  

The patient underwent a chiropractic examination and had x-rays taken of her neck. The patient was found to have abnormal position and movement of the spinal vertebra (a structural shift) in the upper neck that led to nerve interference. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. 

Immediately after her second chiropractic adjustment, the patient reported seeing “sparkles” in the left eye and 15 minutes later the patient experienced a full resolution of the vision loss in her left eye. In addition, the patient reported a resolution of neck and back pain and a reduction of frequency of seizures and migraine headaches. 

The authors of the study call for more research on the role of chiropractic care in visual disorders.         

Contact Information:

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH

Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research