BVD and Motion Sickness

Dr. Russel Lazarus, February 17, 2021
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Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD) is a condition where the eyes are misaligned and the visual system struggles to send one clear image to the brain.

BVD can cause dizziness and motion sickness due to the visual system’s difficulties in fusing together the images from each eye.

While BVD can cause various symptoms, motion sickness is one of the more common ones.

Do you experience motion sickness while riding in a car, travelling by plane or feel sick on spinning rides at the fair? 

If this sounds familiar then you may have BVD. The Find an Eye Doctor directory provides a list of eye doctors near you that may be able to help diagnose and treat BVD.

SEE RELATED: What is Binocular Visual Dysfunction (BVD)?

Find an eye doctor near you

Causes of BVD

BVD has multiple causes, and can develop as a result of a brain injury, stroke, or similar neurological disorders. Facial asymmetry, where one eye is physically higher than the other, can also cause BVD. Facial asymmetry or a nerve or eye muscle dysfunction is something many people are born with.

Symptoms of BVD often start to develop around 40 years of age.

Motion sickness and BVD

Binocular Vision Dysfunction can cause nausea, dizziness and motion sickness, especially while travelling in a car or sailboat.

These symptoms can occur when the brain receives conflicting messages from each of the body’s three balance-sensing systems – the eyes, inner ear and the position-sensing nerves in your legs, arms, head, and neck.

The nausea, dizziness, and motion sickness occur when there is a conflict between the signals coming from your eyes, your inner ear, and position-sensing nerves.

For example, when sitting on a ride at the fair, it’s spinning you around and upside down. Your eyes see one thing, your position-sensing nerves feel another, and your inner ears sense something else. Your brain can’t take in all those mixed signals which is why it leads to nausea and motion sickness.

Motion sickness triggers in BVD

Some of the actions that can trigger the symptoms of motion sickness include:

  • Looking at stationary objects, whilst in motion
  • Driving around curves
  • Huge spaces with high ceilings, such as a supermarket or mall
  • Watching oncoming traffic
  • Moving your head up and down or side to side
  • Riding as a passenger in a car
  • Sailing on a boat or a cruise ship
  • Standing up quickly from a seated position
  • Reading or watching digital devices while in motion

Treatment for motion sickness associated with BVD

BVD is successfully treated with prismatic lenses prescribed by an eye doctor.

Prismatic lenses work to correct the misalignment in your eyes by manipulating incoming light before it enters your eyes so that when the images from the two eyes reach the brain, the brain can fuse them into a single image.

The prisms in the glasses ‘trick’ the brain into thinking your eyes are properly aligned, causing you to see just one object and preventing eye muscle strain.

Usually, patients find that their motion sickness symptoms gradually subside or completely disappear when they wear prescribed prism lenses.

Eye doctors may also include a customized program of vision therapy, which develops stronger communication between the eyes, the visual system and the brain.

When to call the eye doctor

If you find that you suffer from motion sickness it is highly recommended that you schedule an exam with an eye doctor that is trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating BVD.

LEARN MORE:  Guide to Binocular Visual Dysfunction (BVD)

If you suspect your motion sickness is related to BVD contact an eye doctor near you to discuss treatment options to help you to effectively maximize your vision and alleviate your symptoms.