Viraj Zambaulicar, M.Optom

Student, The Sankara Nethralaya Academy (TSNA), Chennai, India



Motion sickness may ruin a much-anticipated vacation and in rare instances affect activities of daily living or employment requiring travel. Although it can occur in practically anyone with sufficient provocation, women and children ages 2 to 12 years are more likely to suffer.(1)

Being physically in motion is not an absolute requirement; rather a perception of motion can also result in motion sickness. (2)  Ergo, one can experience it even whilst viewing a sizeable moving field or experiencing virtual reality rides in amusement parks. (1)

Motion sickness arises through a ‘sensory conflict’ occurring in the CNS. Simply put, the vestibular system present in our inner ear is responsible for body movement sensation, but when the brain receives these motion signals against what the eyes perceive as stationary, the experience of varied symptoms is inevitable. Typically, these include malaise, nausea, yawning, blurred vision, spatial disorientation, difficulty concentrating, and vomiting. (1)

It’s rather easier to prevent than cure. While in a moving environment, fixating on close objects, such as reading or watching a video screen may be provocative. (3) As such, most find it helpful to consider calling shotgun and focusing eyes on a fixed spot like the stable horizon or looking in the vehicle’s direction of travel. (1,3–6) Sunglasses attenuate the visual input and may reduce the sensory conflict, delaying the symptom onset. In the event that none of the above measures proves effective, motion sickness may be alleviated by lying supine wherever practical and closing their eyes.(1,7)

Proprietary patented ‘boarding ring’ eyeglass is a peripheral visual wedge device comprising four tubular round rings, two in front and one ring on each temple. These rings contain a brightly colorized liquid filled up to half of its volume, hypothesized to provide the perception of inertia from a peripheral virtual horizon to induce a feeling of balance with a claimed efficacy rating of 95% within 10 minutes.(8,9)

Another technology employs stroboscopic lights (both lenses become transparent and clear very fast) to stabilize the retinal images by creating longer pauses between what the person sees and balances the mismatch between the visual and balance input. These battery-operated shutter glasses with a cycle frequency of 4 Hz or 8 Hz are touted to increase adaptation to motion sickness. (10) However, its benefit-to-risk consideration awaits assertion due to the scarcity of supporting literature and due to the various known side effects, that such lights may produce.


To summarise, one can begin the aversion to such intrusive episodes merely by gaining an understanding of the mechanism behind its inception. Eye care providers should educate their patients against the false claims of numerous con product advertisements and clarify their misconceptions. Finally, to reiterate, motion sickness can affect anyone and at any time, one must be in a position to recognize early signs to be prepared to prevent it.



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  9. Eole P, Wright C. Motion Sickness – Newly Engineering Glasses may Offer a Solution. J Appl Mech Eng. 2015 Jan 1;05.
  10. Reschke M, Krnavek J, Somers J, Ford G, Hwang EJ, Leigh R, et al. Stroboscopic Vision as a Treatment for Retinal Slip Induced Motion Sickness. Proc Int Symp Vis Induc Motion Sick Fatigue, Photosensit Epileptic Seizures. 2007 Jan 1;1.