Can vision problems cause musculoskeletal complaints and vice versa? The weight of current evidence points to a discernible yet complex connection between eye problems and neck and upper back complaints and is one that deserves further investigation, according to recent studies conducted at the laboratory at Gävle University.
Unravelling the intricate links between musculoskeletal complaints and vision problems may be a key question for the growing number of individuals who work in front of visually demanding modern information technology every day. Recent studies show that when the tone is increased in the focusing muscle of the eye, nerve impulses to the neck and scapular area are also affected. Focusing the lens of the eye requires coordination between various nerve and muscle groups in the eye, neck and scapular area region. Increasing the tone of the focusing muscle (by placing an optical lens over the eye and at the same time seeing to it that the lack of focus incurred is compensated for by increasing the accommodation) affects or activates the section of the cerebral cortex that regulates muscular movement in the head, neck, and scapular region.
Questions raised by these findings are whether eye problems can cause stiffness, muscle aches, etc. in the neck/cervix and scapular area? To what extent is exposure to “normal" but strenuous near work a musculoskeletal risk factor?
Mikael Forsman, Karolinska Institutet