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Vision Related Motion Sickness

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Vision-Related Motion Sickness

Motion sickness refers to that woozy sensation one gets when traveling by car, boat, plane, on roller coasters and ferris wheels. Motion sickness and visual vertigo (dizziness and unsteadiness brought on by visual triggers) can produce similar symptoms, and are sometimes mistaken for one another. Both conditions can be due to issues in your visual system, so if you find yourself becoming disoriented, dizzy, or nauseous, it may be time to visit a neuro-optometrist.

Those who suffer from motion sickness often find it difficult or impossible to drive, play sports, go on amusement park rides, or be in an environment with fast or moderate motion. Engaging in these activities or being in visually-busy settings can produce uncomfortable — even debilitating — symptoms.

Fortunately, a neuro-optometrist can offer help. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of motion sickness, contact to schedule a functional visual evaluation.

Exhausted tired woman with closed eyes touching head

What is Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness occurs when the body’s motion receptors send conflicting messages to the brain. For instance, some people experience nausea or other uncomfortable symptoms when reading from a book (or screen) while riding in a moving vehicle. This is because the eyes are focused on a still object — the words on a page — while the motion receptors in the inner ear sense motion. These conflicting messages are what contribute to the feeling of motion sickness.

How Can Vision Cause Motion Sickness Symptoms?

The visual input that comes from the eyes helps the brain understand where you are in relation to your surroundings. Other sensory information about the body’s position and stability come from receptors in the inner ear (vestibular sensors) as well as receptors in the legs and feet that inform the brain about any body movements and where they are located in relation to the rest of the body. The visual system, along with the other sensory receptors, all work together to keep you feeling balanced and stable.

Someone with visual dysfunction may experience motion sickness due to the inaccurate visual information being processed by the brain. This mismatch of visual input with vestibular cues causes you to experience vision-related motion sickness.

One visual condition that commonly causes motion sickness symptoms is binocular vision disorder (BVD). In BVD, the eyes are misaligned and each eye sends a separate image to the brain. To compensate for the conflicting visual messages, the brain works very hard to create a unified image and sometimes forces the eyes into correct alignment. This process can cause several symptoms, including those of motion sickness.

Symptoms of Vision-Related Motion Sickness

It’s common to experience any of the following symptoms of vision-relation motion sickness:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Trouble maintaining balance

How Our Doctors Treat Vision-Related Motion Sickness

At , we treat the problem at its source — the brain and its connection to the visual system. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a process by which the brain is “rewired” to work in unison with the eyes. This method is highly effective in treating motion sickness if the problem is a dysfunction in the visual system.

At the initial consultation, will thoroughly evaluate your eyes and various visual skills to determine whether your visual system is contributing to your motion sickness. If a problem with visual function or processing is detected, may prescribe neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy is a highly personalized program of exercises that develop the communication between the brain and the eyes. The program may also use several therapeutic tools, such as specialized lenses and prisms, to aid in the developmental process. Some practices offer only prism lenses as a treatment for motion sickness or visual vertigo. While this can lessen symptoms in the short term, prism lenses alone don’t offer lasting relief since the condition itself isn’t corrected. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is unique in that it can actually reverse the cause of the condition, offering long-lasting relief.

If you or a loved one suffers from motion sickness, speak with about how we can help.


What is BVD

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What is Binocular Visual Dysfunction?

Having binocular vision means that your eyes are successfully working together to see an object as one clear image. With binocular visual dysfunction (BVD), your eyes cannot align with each other so they send separate images to the brain. Someone with BVD may be unable to easily fuse them into one clear image.

With BVD, the eye muscles and the brain will strain to correct the misalignment. This effort to see a single, clear image often results in:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Seeing double
  • Neck pain
  • Reading problems
  • Difficulty with depth perception
  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Blurry vision
  • Imbalance

BVD affects people of all ages. It can hinder an adult’s performance at work, making reading and other vision-centered tasks, such as driving, a chore. Diagnosing and treating children with BVD early on will allow children to see and read comfortably and meet the demands of school and sports.

Diagnosing & Treating BVD

Because someone with BVD may successfully see one image (albeit by straining), and otherwise possesses clear vision and good eye health, general practitioners, ophthalmologists and even neurologists may be baffled as to what the eye problem is. In addition, the eyes’ misalignment often is so minimal as to go undetected.

The optometrists at are experienced in diagnosing and treating patients with BVD. Vision therapy is tailored to each patient to train and develop brain-eye communication. The therapy will help your eyes move properly, stay aligned, and work as a team. The result: Your eyes will see an object as one image, providing you with clear, comfortable vision. A vision therapy regimen can run from a few weeks to several months.

As part of the treatment, may also prescribe eyeglasses with prisms. The prism glasses help the eyes and brain to create a unified image, sometimes immediately.


Double Vision hero

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Double Vision

When a person sees two separate or overlapping images of the same object, they are experiencing diplopia — or double vision.

Seeing double can turn small tasks into large ones. Ordinary activities such as reaching for a door knob or a glass of water can be challenging. Those with diplopia often have poor depth perception, which disrupts the ability to read, drive and play sports.

If you or someone close to you is experiencing double vision, can prescribe a fully personalized neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy program.

Symptoms of Diplopia

Common symptoms of double vision include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Pain around the eyes, temples, or eyebrows
  • Painful eye movements
  • Noticeable eye misalignment
  • Eye weakness
  • Drooping eyelids

There are three types of diplopia:

  • Horizontal diplopia: seeing two images that are separated horizontally
  • Vertical diplopia: seeing two images where one is higher than the other
  • Monocular diplopia: double vision that persists in only one eye

Double vision is usually a symptom of other health issues, and sometimes can indicate the need for immediate medical attention. If you experience diplopia, contact for a prompt appointment.

What Causes Double Vision?

Temporary diplopia can be due to a lack of sleep or excessive alcohol consumption and is generally no cause for concern. Long-lasting or recurring double vision can be caused by several eye conditions, such as keratoconus, cataracts, or dry eye.

Most often, monocular diplopia is caused by these conditions.

  • Head injury, such as a stroke, a concussion, brain swelling, a brain tumor, or brain aneurysm
  • Refractive surgery, such as LASIK
  • Cranial nerve palsies
  • Strabismus, or eye misalignment

How is Double Vision Treated?

Diplopia treatments can include surgery, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, prescription prism glasses, and medication.

Why Choose a Neuro-Optometrist?

man standing near body of waterA neuro-optometrist diagnoses and treats neurological conditions that impact the functioning of the visual system.

The first step is to have a complete functional visual evaluation to determine which visual skills are lacking. After the initial diagnosis, will recommend the most suitable treatment. For diplopia patients, a fully personalized neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy program is most often prescribed. This specialized form of vision therapy can help you regain lost visual skills or develop new ones, and trains the eyes to work in unison with the brain. The result: long-lasting clear and unified vision.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy for double vision can effectively treat the underlying neurological condition using prisms, therapeutic lenses, filters, and patching. The use of prisms is often prescribed to patients with diplopia, as the prism bends the light to match the displacement of the affected eye, allowing the patient to see a single image.

A functional visual evaluation with is especially crucial for patients who’ve sustained a head injury — however mild — as visual symptoms may result from the trauma.

Additionally, if you suspect your child has diplopia or any other visual problem, it’s best to bring them in for a functional vision assessment without delay, as children often lack the verbal skills needed to express what they’re seeing. A child experiencing double vision may still be able to identify letters and shapes, making it difficult for parents and teachers to detect a problem.

If you or a loved one is suffering from diplopia, don’t hesitate to call to schedule your appointment today.