The trunk is packed, the music’s blasting, and the road trip snack bag is full! But road trips, or any length of time spent in the car, can bring on car sickness for many people, making car rides a stressful and unpleasant experience. But what many people don’t know about motion sickness is that it is highly connected to vision.
Motion sickness is brought on when a person’s visual system is not working together with their vestibular system. The vestibular system provides us with a sense of balance and gives us spatial awareness, or knowing where our body is in the environment. When we sit in a car, our body can sense subtle acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle. If our eyes don’t communicate that same information to the brain, we get nauseous. People who have visual problems, such as a lazy eye or post-concussion difficulties, may be more prone to motion sickness due to a mismatch between the visual and vestibular systems.
Some simple ways to reduce feelings of motion sickness are to try sitting in the front seat of the car or staring out the window. Your visual system will sense the movement, reducing feelings of sickness. You can also try sipping on ginger tea to help soothe an upset stomach. However, if there is a greater visual issue at play, vision therapy may be helpful. Our vision therapists, along with Dr. Tai, can help identify potential visual issues you may have, and will work alongside you to help improve and reduce your road trip dread!
Written by: Tali Main
Photo Credit: Dan Gold