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Motion Sickness Associated with BVD

Some people experience motion sickness while riding in a car or onboard a boat. Others feel sick on spinning rides at the fair. If this sounds familiar to you, your motion sickness may be related to Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD).

What Is Binocular Vision Dysfunction?

Ordinarily, our eyes work in perfect unison, enabling the brain to unify the 2 images the eyes send into one clear image. When our eyes are even slightly misaligned — a condition called Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD) — the eyes and brain struggle to fuse the two images. The condition can cause various symptoms, including motion sickness.

If you experience motion sickness, schedule a consultation with an optometrist trained and experienced in developmental or functional optometry who will assess your vision and recommend optimal treatment.

What Causes Binocular Vision Dysfunction?

senior woman wearing eyeglasses 640BVD can develop as a result of a stroke, brain injury, 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 abnormality is something many people are born with.

Motion Sickness and BVD

Binocular Vision Dysfunction can cause nausea, dizziness and motion sickness. While the exact cause of these symptoms is unknown, what we do know is that they can occur when the brain receives conflicting information from each of the body’s three balance-sensing systems.

The three systems include the eyes, the inner ear and the position-sensing nerves in your arms, legs, neck, and head. 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 roller coaster, the eyes and inner ears detect the person’s movement, despite the fact that the limbs are stationary — the legs are not pumping, the arms are not swinging. Therefore, the position-sensing nerves in the rest of the body are communicating to the brain that the body is not in motion. This conflicts with the information the eyes and inner ears are sending to the brain, leading to nausea and motion sickness.

What Triggers Motion Sickness in People With BVD?

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

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

Can BVD-Related Motion Sickness Be Treated?

Yes. BVD can be treated with “aligning prismatic lenses” in the form of either eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Aligning prismatic lenses work to correct the misalignment in your eyes. They do this 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 your eye muscles from being strained.

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

At Eye Care Optometry of Moreno Valley, we care about your vision. If you’re experiencing issues with motion sickness and want to determine whether BVD is causing your symptoms, book an appointment with us today.

Our practice serves patients from , , , and , California and surrounding communities.


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