It may be your eyes:
Is Your Cybersickness the Result of an Undiagnosed Vision Problem?

Is Your Cybersickness the Result of an Undiagnosed Vision Problem?

If you’ve ever driven a car through a winding road or spent time on a boat in choppy waters, you’re probably familiar with motion sickness, but you may not be as aware of cybersickness. This persistent sickness can impact your quality of life and wreak havoc on daily activities. Learn more about cybersickness, including what it is and how you can treat it. 

What Is Cybersickness? 

Cybersickness is a form of motion sickness that occurs when you use a computer, or any device with a screen, such as a smartphone or a virtual reality headset. If you’ve ever been surfing the internet on your phone and felt lightheaded or nauseous, you might have experienced cybersickness. 

Common Symptoms

Cybersickness symptoms include: 
  • Nausea
  • Persistent and Severe Headache
  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Unexpected Sweating
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Eye Pain/Eye Strain
  • Sleep Irregularities 
Like other forms of motion sickness, cybersickness happens when the body detects conflicting motion signals between what you see and what you feel. The vestibular system, which is the inner ear mechanism responsible for spacial awareness and balance, senses no head movement or physical motion; however, the eyes are picking up rapid movements which creates a sensory conflict. For example, if you are rapidly scrolling your social media feed while lying in bed, your body is at rest, but your eyes are taking in a lot of movement. 

Treating Cybersickness

Cybersickness is uncomfortable and can make everyday tasks exhausting, particularly if you have to use a computer or other screens for your job or your education. The conflicting sensory inputs are received by  your central nervous system, which triggers several cybersickness symptoms. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent cybersickness and treat severe cybersickness. Common treatments include:
  • Taking frequent breaks from the screen throughout the day
  • Printing out documents instead of reading them on a screen
  • Listening to audio presentations instead of watching videos
  • Disabling pop ups
  • Scrolling more slowly
  • Making sure virtual reality headsets fit correctly and aren't glitchy
  • Spending less time in a virtual world or in virtual and augmented reality 

Cybersickness and Other Vision Problems

Your cybersickness might also be related to vision problems. Some common vision issues linked to cybersickness can be found below. Other issues not mentioned include visually induced motion sickness which you can also discuss with a professional. 


Farsightedness is caused when the eyeball is shorter than normal, making it difficult for light to focus on the retina. People with this condition can clearly see objects that are far away, but they have difficulty seeing anything close up. When you’re using screens like computers and smartphones, they are usually closer to your eyes.  If you’re farsighted, you may end up squinting or having difficulty concentrating on your screen if it’s too close to your face. This can worsen your cybersickness symptoms. 

Convergence Insufficiency

This type of visual disorder impacts how your eyes work together when you’re looking at objects that are close to you. Your eyes may be able to work together when looking at objects that are far away, but nearby objects become blurred. You also may experience double vision when looking at objects that are close up.  Like farsightedness, convergence insufficiency can either cause or exacerbate cybersickness. Because your eyes already have trouble focusing on screens that are near your face, you may also find yourself getting sick when you add motion into the mix. 

Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Also known as BVD, binocular vision dysfunction happens when your eyes don’t work well together as a team, resulting in your eyes not properly aligning with one another. It causes a wide range of symptoms depending on how severely your eyes are misaligned. Common symptoms include dizziness, nausea, motion sickness, persistent headaches, eye pain, blurred vision, and even double vision If you have this condition, your brain is likely working overtime to correct your vision so you can make sense of what you see, but it stresses out your eye muscles. If you have cybersickness, it may be a symptom of BVD While these eye conditions are common causes of cybersickness, you may experience it with any condition that strains your eye muscles. If you’ve tried the treatments above (including reducing your screen time) and your cybersickness persists, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with a NeuroVisual specialist to see if you have an underlying eye condition.  Our NeuroVisual specialists can help treat the underlying causes of cybersickness. The goal is to reduce the strain on your eye muscles and help you get your life back to normal. 

Treat Cybersickness and Other Vision Problems with Vision Specialists

At Vision Specialists of Michigan, we specialize in BVD and other conditions caused by visual misalignment. We can treat your condition using glasses with specialized, microprism lenses that help align your eyes, so your brain doesn’t have to.  If misalignment is causing your cybersickness, our treatments can help you feel better right away with a noticeable improvement after several visits. In our digital world, you might not be able to escape screen time, but that’s no reason to suffer from cybersickness.  Contact us today for a consultation and get to the bottom of your cybersickness. 

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It may be your eyes

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It may be your eyes

  • American Academy Optometry
  • American Optometric Association
  • Michigan Optometric Association
  • VEDA
  • Neuro Optometry Rehabilitation Association