Motion sickness happens when there is a conflict among your senses. Like when you are on a ride at the fair, there is an exposure to visual or physical motion. When the ride spins and turns upside down, what your eyes see and inner ears sense are different. Your brain comprehends those as a mixture of signals and cannot process them. That is why you feel dizzy and sick.
Often, a disconnect in your visual system causes motion sickness. Sometimes, the disconnect is a slight misalignment in one eye. When your eyes do not coordinate properly, the misalignment causes stress to your brain. Although it is small, the effect is significant. It affects your balance and movement.
Many times, there is a misdiagnosis of the condition. You may think that the cause of your motion sickness is auditory, which is true in some cases. However, it can also be visual. The difference is that when the problem is your eyes, you may also experience motion sickness when you are reading. Motion sickness due to visual problems is commonly a sign of binocular vision dysfunction (BVD).
It is a condition that happens when your eyes do not coordinate properly. The lack of coordination causes stress on the eye muscles and the brain. So if you experience blurry vision in addition to motion sickness, the probability is you have BVD.
The symptoms of BVD include motion sickness, dizziness, light sensitivity, anxiety in large spaces, and headaches. The intensity and frequency of these symptoms may vary depending on the activity. They may differ when driving, reading, standing up from a sitting or bending position.
When driving, BVD can also cause anxiety and panic attacks. It makes it a problem driving at night, dusk, or dawn. It is hard to judge distances when passing or driving next to other cars. They seem like they are too close, and stationary objects seem to be in motion.
When reading, BVD causes disorders like dyslexia. It is problematic staying attentive and reading fluently. Words seem to float or merge, causing you to miss lines or skip words.
When you have BVD, some actions may trigger the symptoms of motion sickness. These include driving around curves, standing up too quickly, or being in huge spaces. Others are riding as a passenger in a car, reading, or watching digital devices when in motion.
Since the main problem is the misalignment of your eyes, treatment involves correcting this problem. The correction of the misalignment involves prism lenses. Prisms manipulate incoming light before it enters your eyes. They move the image you see so that when it reaches the brain, it fuses them into one.
Prisms trick the brain that your eyes are in alignment. The treatment will cause your motion sickness to subside or disappear.
For more on motion sickness and BVD, visit Bernstein Center for Visual Performance at our office in White Plains, New York. You can call (914) 682-8886 today to schedule an appointment.