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Can TMJ Affect Your Eyes? Exploring the Connection with Dr. Mingus

Don’t be surprised if suffering from Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder affects your eyes. Scientifically known as temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, TMJ problems can result in symptoms ranging from jaw pain and headaches to earaches, neck and shoulders or even vision disturbances.

Dr. Spencer Mingus of S and L Clinic, one of the top TMJ-treatment practitioners in the United States, explains the connection between TMJ and eye problems. “The pain and discomfort from TMJ commonly radiates to the delicate muscles around the eyes,” Dr. Mingus says. “When the jaw, neck and upper back muscles are tense and in spasm, the muscles that control the movements of the eyes become affected as well.”

Symptoms of TMJ and How They Affect the Eyes

TMJ problems often manifest as jaw pain or difficulty moving the jaw, loud clicking or popping of the jaw, earaches, difficulty chewing and headaches. Dr. Mingus notes that other visual symptoms of TMJ disorder include blurring of vision, double vision, inability to focus on close-up objects, light sensitivity, dry eyes and twitching of the eyelids or eyes. These symptoms might be accompanied by tension in the neck and back of the head, which can make the symptoms of TMJ even worse.

How TMJ Affects Eye Movements

Here’s Dr. Mingus’ explanation of the process: “The symptoms of TMJ disorder often stem from the jaw and adjoining muscles being in tense state, which can make it difficult for the eyes to move around freely. These muscles also play a crucial role in keeping the eyes aligned, when the muscles are tense or in spasm, it can cause the eyes to become misaligned and the patient to experience double vision.”

When the muscles that control the eye movements are affected by TMJ, the patient may not be able to focus on close-up objects, reading becomes difficult and the eyes wear out faster from squinting and blinking too much.

Treatment for TMJ and Its Effects on the Eyes

For cases where TMJ is the root cause of vision disturbances, Dr. Mingus and his team adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. This usually consists of chiropractic adjustments to realign the joints, massage therapy to loosen tight muscles and other therapies such as physiotherapy, acupuncture and trigger point injections to relieve symptoms. Dietary changes can also help to calm down the inflamed muscles and reduce stress.

For vision disturbances caused by TMJ, physical therapy focused on eye and jaw exercises are also an important part of treatment. This can help to improve the strength and length of the muscles around the eyes, while also giving some relief from muscle tension.

Preventive Measures to Manage the Eye Symptoms of TMJ

To help manage the symptoms of TMJ, Dr. Mingus recommends his patients to make lifestyle changes, such as practicing good posture, cooling down the inflamed areas of the face with a cold compress and avoiding overusing the eyes. Stress reduction strategies like meditation and yoga can also be beneficial in reducing the overall tension and symptoms associated with TMJ and its effects of the eyes.


Treating vision disturbances connected to TMJ requires a comprehensive approach that can include chiropractic care, physical therapy, relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes. Dr. Spencer Mingus advises his patients that the key to success is to stay consistent with the recommended treatment plan, in order to experience long-term relief and live life without TMJ limiting their everyday activities.