Motion Sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting information from our senses. A familiar example is watching a chase scene on the big screen. Our eyes are telling the brain that we are in motion while our body is saying that we are sitting still in a dark theater. While not everyone in the audience will experience motion sickness, those with a lower tolerance for sensory mismatch will. Common symptoms and signs include dizziness, pale skin, sweating, headache and vomiting. In addition to motion pictures, car rides and boat rides will also cause an onset of symptoms.
Since visual motion can cause motion sickness, desensitizing motion-sensitive people to moving objects can alleviate symptoms. Vision therapy accomplishes this through activities that induce visual motion. Therapy starts at a level that the patient is comfortable with, then gradually increase increase in demand as the patient progresses. As the patient becomes desensitized to visual motion, symptoms become less severe, less frequent and, eventually a thing of the past.
Prior to my internship at Wow Vision Therapy, I didn't know that vision therapy can help reduce motion sickness. During this summer I had the opportunity to work with an 11 year old avid reader with motion sickness. Before every car trip, she had to take a motion-sickness pill. She used to get headaches after reading a few minutes in the car. After just a few sessions of vision therapy, she noticed that her motion sickness was greatly reduced. She didn't need her medicine until a few hours into the trip. After a couple more sessions, she reported that she didn't experience any car-sickness during her family's 11- hour road trip, and she was able to read in the car without any headaches. Not only was she excited by the results, I was equally excited to see how motion sickness was successfully treated by vision therapy.
Do you suffer from motion sickness? Do you dread getting in a car or a boat? Do you want to be able to enjoy a book during road trips? If you answer yes to any of these questions, I encourage you to make an appointment with Dr. Fortenbacher today to see if you are a candidate for vision therapy. Perhaps you too will benefit from vision therapy.
Anh La, Intern
Michigan College of Optometry