The Migraine Associated Vertigo Community
Read our welcome post, user support wiki & visit our member recommended products page

Trouble watching films and some TV

I can’t visit the cinema anymore as the sound system is always far too loud, it’s hot, can’t see the floor and the special effects and “action scenes” mean I have to look away. TV was my refuge but lately I’ve noticed a lot more shaky cameraman and juddery panning shots in TV series. The BBC currently have an advert about the planet, something about a forest with a breaking up pattern and shaking as if a video camera was on the blink, even my husband (who never gets dizzy or a headache etc) has to look away so I can’t even report what exact advert it is.

I tried to watch with the recent Star Trek:Discovery series with my husband but spent a lot of the time looking away as the feted cinematography consisted of shafts of white light shining out suddenly on the bridge and a prism effect of light through the windows snaking across the screen, and the camera often twirls around filming the bridge of the Discovery, really ill making. I know MAV’ers are a small subset but lots of people have conditions that are surely affected by this?

My eldest tells me I’m not missing much as STD (LOL) is pretty dire on the story front with none of the heart of the old franchise

Rant over, I’m off to watch some Classic Corrie on ITV3 where the “cinematography” is easy on the MAV’ers eye and even I am younger than their target demographic.

Anyone else have issues with more modern action sequences?


Hi, yes cinema was a nightmare for me until recently thanks to venlafaxine, I recall taking the kids to see baby boss with my husband, omg it was shocking, I had to close my eyes so much, the swirls and motion on the screen caused my inside head to spin, not to mention the noise. Even certain programs on TV, like a car driving scene was a terror. Its much improved thanks to meds, able to go to cinema again. But I know how you feel, it’s not good so really hope it passes and settled for you. Enjoy the old corries the classics!!

Glad the venlafaxine is working for you. Long may it continue.

I have to say one of the things I don’t miss about not having any youngsters running around anymore are the endless cinema trips to watch the latest cgi film!

Yes. There’s one recently on TV (may just be the one you mentioned). Must admit I looked away but did comment to my Other Half it should carry a warning because I’m sure it would affect Photosensitive Epilepsy sufferers as well as MAVers. Trouble is it’s such small minorities affected and most Directors are probably not aware. From my experience I’d say watching films in a cinema would be far worse because you are sitting in the dark staring at a huge screen (high contrast situation) when your eyes would rather be looking for light to keep you balanced. Too much brain stimulation.

All this ‘stuff’ is Visual Vertigo which is common with any vestibular condition apparently, and migraine and other conditions no doubt of which we are unaware. I could get motion sick watching a boat in water on TV or falling snow and I missed two Olympics following, apart from selected highlights hugging a bucket between my knees, and went without computer screens eight months totally at one point. Could write a book on it. It’s all the same thing as the feeling things are rushing past too quickly outside, like walking against a crowd or walking the double-sided supermarket isle. Or watching leaves on a tree blowing in the wind.

Good drugs for getting it under control seem to be Venlafaxine, Amitriptyline and Propranolol. It is said Visual Vertigo is far more common in people with reduced 3-D vision which can be due to some central condition like MAV, or having convergence insufficiency but it’s common with balance disorders and I suspect more so if these are of long standing. Er, you, me and Jojo? Helen

I still can’t go to cinema and live music. The visual stuff is fine but the audio distortion is bad especially with loud bass sounds ( seems like there are resonances in my bad ear that didn’t used to exist)

For the visual stuff consider amitriptyline. That worked a treat for me.

There’s a lot of judder in some TV conversions of movies. This puts a lot of strain on the vestibular system.

I went to the symphony with another MAVerick recently (@ander454). Both of us were affected, even with earplugs.

After that I went to a rock concert. I wore sunglasses and earplugs and took a Fioricet beforehand. And I did great and enjoyed myself. We also sat dead center rear so I wouldn’t be getting different input between my ears. I closed my eyes a lot with the light show, but was otherwise ok.


I haven’t been to the cinema for a long time. This makes me feel like I may continue to avoid it. I do have trouble when watching PowerPoint slides that have a sort of swoosh movement transitioning to the next slide (fancy visuals). I wish I could describe it better. I have to look away at the critical moments.

I too thought of epilepsy with regard to the lights you described. I suppose they think of the majority and not some of us who will truly suffer from watching.


That’s exactly the moment my chronic MAV phase started: in a work presentation.


There are particular things on television that drive my brain batty. Like ticker tape running across the bottom of the screen and those dreaded “aerial” documentaries of beautiful places across the world I used to enjoy. Now the aerial views make me quite nauseous.

1 Like

The ticker tape does me in too. I don’t watch the rolling news channels anymore.

1 Like

The ‘moving’ advertising hoarding at football matches, particularly if it happens to be going the opposite way to field of play.

If meds aren’t improving this it can be an indication of some problem with eye misalignment. 5% of the population has some minor misalignment . The MAV could be exacerbating something congenital. Might be worth getting it checked out with optician. Helen

1 Like

Yes in the begging of MAV for me watching TV made me feel motion sick. It has improved but I still find certain things difficult to watch, the shaky camera and fast panning is a big one. Any sudden fast movements. Strangely enough I can tolerate the cinema OK, the worst part of the cinema is the patterned carpet and down lights makes me feel very unsteady walking across that damned carpet! I’m fine at Rock concerts but I do have to close my eyes if lights flash consistently as it makes me nauseous