Can vision problems cause musculo-skeletal complaints and vice versa? This is a key question for anyone who works in front of a computer screen every day. Together with research colleagues at the Karolinska Institute, Uppsala University, and in the U.S., Associate Professor Hans Richter at Gävle University College investigates the connection between eye problems and neck and back complaints in a cross-disciplinary study.
Focusing the lens of the eye requires coordination between various nerve and muscle groups in the eye, neck, and shoulder region. The connection between these causal factors has now been studied by a research team from Gävle University College, Uppsala University, the Karolinska Institute, and the University of Minnesota.
The findings of the most recent part of the study show that reducing the tone of the focusing muscle affects the section of the cerebral cortex that regulates muscular movement in the head, neck, and shoulder region. The experiments were carried out using a PET camera, where radioactive marker substances are used to monitor the activity in the brain of volunteers who were asked to focus the lens of their eyes on different types of stimuli under varying optical conditions.
Questions raised by the findings of the study are whether eye problems can cause stiffness, muscle aches in the neck/cervix and shoulder region. The reverse -whether complaints in muscles and joints in the neck/cervix and shoulder region can affect the ability of the eye to focus - should also be investigated further.
Research director Hans Richter mentions that "it is vital to seek further knowledge of how tensing and relaxing the neck, throat, and shoulders affects the eyes and how eye complaints can trigger and/or aggravate muscular aches in the shoulders and/or neck region. The findings may show, for instance, that patients who experience back and neck pain working with computers should have their eyes examined”.
MEDICA.de; Source: Gävle University College