On a recent visit to the Physical Therapy department at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics, Carolyn Clefisch began experiencing dizziness, or vertigo symptoms. Her therapist, Kim Franzen, asked if she would like to have her symptoms checked out using Frenzel Goggles, a helpful evaluation tool. Carolyn agreed to the treatment and was already familiar with the goggles, as she had used them at another facility for treatment. “I was very happy to know that GMHC had the video Frenzel Goggles, because I knew I wouldn’t have to drive so far to be treated,” Carolyn mentioned. “We acquired the goggles in midyear 2020. Our staff has taken continued education courses on the use of the goggles for vestibular rehabilitation,” commented Amy Sitzmann, Therapy Services.
Frenzel Goggles come in two styles, optical and video, and are used to help with the evaluation of a patient who is experiencing dizziness, or vertigo. The basic (optical) Frenzel Goggle allows the therapist or provider to see the eye magnified and the very small movements, which are usually undetectable to the observer’s naked eye. The more advanced (video) Frenzel Goggles not only magnifiy the eyes, but they record these tiny eye movements in both eyes at once, as well as the patient’s movement in the treatment room. The recording can be replayed later and viewed as many times as needed. Video Frenzel Goggles can also be used with the light on, or they can block out all the light, depending on what the evaluator is looking for.
While the patient wears the goggles, the therapist can change the position of the patient’s head or assist them in going from a sitting to a lying position, or vice versa. As this is happening, the therapist observes the changes that take place in the magnified eyes by watching them on a screen or a laptop, where the movements are large and easier to see.
GMHC has the video style Frenzel Goggles to help in evaluating vestibular (balance) problems and helping to determine their source. A common symptom of vestibular problems is vertigo, which can result from certain movements such as rolling over in bed or moving the head quickly. These movements can cause the patient to feel dizzy or off balance, or they may feel like the room is spinning. They may also feel nauseous and can even have trouble with vision or hearing.
In Carolyn’s case, her dizziness was due to BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). Franzen used a positional treatment called the Epley maneuver to correct the issue. “In BPPV, tiny calcium crystals, or ‘rocks’ come loose in the inner ear from their normal position and can cause dizziness, vertigo, or balance problems,” Franzen explained. Sometimes, vertigo symptoms can be corrected in only one therapy session. Other times, 3-4 sessions may be needed to help relieve symptoms. Should vertigo return later, a different sequence of movements may be needed, as the crystals do not always move to the same place in the ear. It is best to be seen by your therapist again if the vertigo returns.
In addition, other, more serious causes of dizziness can also result from various types of medical triggers, like stroke, high blood pressure, concussion, head and neck injuries, or medications. For this reason, it is very important to have symptoms like dizziness checked by your provider. The video Frenzel Goggles are a very valuable evaluation tool that allows us to see the smallest of movements in the eyes at the same time, helping to clearly define the problem the patient is experiencing. Having this tool right here will also benefit patients by saving them travel time and money.
“Thank you GMHC for providing this great service close to home, and for the excellent treatment of my vertigo symptoms,” said Carolyn.