The Vestibular Disorders Support Community
Read our welcome post, user support wiki & visit our member recommended products page

Visual Vertigo

I’m also not sure I’m understanding the term “visual vertigo” correctly (since I don’t seem to have computer screen issues) - does that include “motion intolerance?” When I used to move my head, either from side to side or up and down, that would set me off. I think it was the visual part of it that goofed up my brain - so I’d have an illusion of continued motion, even though my head would only make a short move in some direction. That’s why the word “vertigo” never seemed to fit me too well, as I always associated that with a spinning sensation, which I didn’t have.

Anyway, this illusion thing was on top of the daily wobbliness, plus I also had the dizziness episodes of varying severity that would hit me with no warning (boy, I don’t miss THOSE days!). So if this head motion intolerance (because it brought on the illusion of continued movement kind of dizziness) is visual vertigo, then topamax helped me to get over it. Plus I’m sure graduating from perimenopause to menopause (wild hormone swings calming down) helped, too.

thanks so much scott for bringing up this very interesting topic. i think we have similar stories as far as starting this big bang with VN.

a few days before my c-section surgery, i had been hit with a nasty virus. sinus infection, ear hurt, etc. but my doctor said it was safe to have surgery as long as i didn’t have a fever, so i did it. i was pretty dizzy after the surgery but attributed it to the meds. 3 days later BAM! it hit and it hit hard, they kept me 3 days longer in the hospital. i believe it was the perfect storm. i’m positive i had some sort of inner ear virus- my ear was killing me and after checking, the doc said my ear looked fine, the month of october growing up was always my dizzy month, i attributed that to the barometric pressure change. and finally, the hormones. my milk came in on the third day and that was when it hit and it hasn’t stopped since (4 months later.)

i have had this since i was a teenager and my “dizzy spells” as i used to call them only lasted a few hours and then went away. why the heck has this spell been different and lasted this long? i am sure because of the VN. now, i’ve had the eng test done and it was fine, but that is only 1 part of the inner war they can test, there are still 4 more. another nuerologist i met with told me it couldn’t be just mav because it doesn’t last this long which i blew off since a lot of us have been suffering this for a long time, but it totally makes sense to rid the migraine to let your brain compensate.

i’m on my 3rd day of topamax and so far so good with the side effects (i’m only at 12 mg!) still rocking but definitely visual vertigo. i am so sick of it.

but, it all makes sense to me now and thank you scott!

ps, the brain can compensate, right?

Hi All,
The statement of having a psychiatric component isnt so wild of a statement, a Dr would also say having low sero is a psychiatric component, I’d think.

How are you holding up with the Prothiaden? Any weight gain?


I’ve been on a diet for a while now and it’s not shifting the weight, but I haven’t gained any weight.
Lost only 4 kilos and it pissing me off it’s not coming off fast :evil:
I’ve ditched most sugary stuff, drinking stevia (yuck) in my decaf C/T
I have the occasional Diet Pepsi (bad for me I know).
Years ago, I was on Prothiaden when I was younger and never gained weight on it
but I’m now a chubba lubba! perimeno fatty.


Kelley – I didn’t realise that visual vertigo was such a hassle for you. So what causes visual vertigo for you? What’s the worst thing? And did it resolve on good days and/or with clonazepam?

Certain types of computer screens set me off in a big way and I cannot figure out why. They are the worst thing for me in this department I used to think it was mostly a function of screen size but that’s clearly not the story as this MacBook Air really does me in. My non-LED backlit Macs do not trigger it – not even the 24" beast at full lighting. So it’s not a light issue as turning it down on the Air still has the same effect. No refresh issues on LCD screens either. There is something about the way the image is produced on these newer screens but what and how do I compensate? Maybe I need glasses but that adds another new potentially disastrous effect. It’s a painful process forcing even 5-10 minutes on it. I feel seasick and then the anxiety starts and next, overall, feel the full force of hurricane MAV.


Hi Scott.
Since we’v changed to the larger acer screen, my visaul Mav/component, using the comp has changed, I can read for hours with no probs.
Wonder why it hasnt for you? must be a vestibular/ENT prob there also???

Jen – I don’t know what it is. There’s no detectable reason why one screen should cause a problem while the other one doesn’t. But you just know you’re in trouble the second you start looking at it. I’m reading a bunch of papers from the literature now on this visual vertigo crap trying to work out what the problem is exactly and how to solve it once and for all.

One paper discusses a vestibular insult being one cause of it:

The symptoms of visual vertigo develop after a vestibular insult. A typical patient is a previously asymptomatic person who suffers an acute peripheral disorder, e.g. vestibular neuritis, and that after an initial period of recovery of a few weeks, he/she discovers that the dizzy symptoms do not fully disappear. Furthermore, symptoms are aggravated by looking at moving or repetitive images, as described. Patients may also develop anxiety or frustration because symptoms do not go away (in spite of doctors telling them that they will!) or because medical practitioners tend to disregard, or are unfamiliar, with this syndrome.

Scott are you getting any better with your visual vertigo??

hope so


Thanks for asking Chris.

Not much better on the VV front but overall I feel MUCH better. Head is clear, no aches and pains and I have energy. Guess what I’ve removed from my diet completely for about 4 days now? Fruit. I’ve also not had the sandwich around the corner from work where I was suspecting the bread crumbs they used on the chicken schnitzel (not home made). I am more convinced it’s been the fruit however. Since coming home from NZ I have been eating either strawberries, oranges, apples, rock melon, or bananas nearly every day.

Moderation is key with this one. I will stay off the fruit for another week and then just slip some in once in a while. I love fruit. What a drag. :?

Meanwhile, I’m still as sensitive as ever to alien computer screens. My head likes only two at the moment; anything else and I start to spin out.

glad you are feeling overall better. mine is so off and on all the time - no predicting as you know.

It’s hard to give up food that’s for sure. I’ve been eating apples and blackberries and thats it. i’d like to try pomegranites one of these days too - i’ve tried to cut out a lot of triggers - well triggers for most according to the heal your headache book - doesn’t mean they are my triggers :slight_smile:

its hard though huh? i wish i could figure out if i have food triggers i honestly don’t know.

Computer screens are hard that’s for sure. I am on the computer 9 hours a day and still come home and get on my laptop for a while.

I hope you feel better

ALL of you!! I seem best when i can just hang out at home and not HAVE to go anywhere so i think i have a lot of anxiety!!


Glad to hear you are better…I had a good day today and I don’t know why, but glad to have it nonetheless. I was having fruit smoothies every morning this week and had a crappy week, and I wonder if that has anything to do with it for me?
Yeah, the visual stuff is my nemesis. The Phenergan was helping but has seemed to stop…so I’ve dropped back on it and moved up on my Cymbalta…so far this is working, but you never know.

Hi Scott and all
I know I read years ago about sensory integration and how they have programes/ways of dealing with it, I believe I made a post at one time about it,
and wonder if these same programes would help us mavers with a visaul component?
people/Children with autism can also have this issue.
I’ll have to go look for it again.


Wow. I feel the exact same way. I actually went to the eye doctor first when I started getting dizzy because I felt like the dizziness was caused by my eyes. It was really hard to explain. If I’m outside, I don’t get dizzy. If I’m in a big box store, I can barely walk. Inside my house, the dizziness is about average. I get hit with spells off and on, and there’s pressure in my head - almost as if my eyes strain to see things close up but my focus is fine. It sounds crazy but I understand it. I work on a computer 10 hours a day. That’s 50 hours a week for the past 8 years. I had no idea I was suffering migraines until the ENT told me the other day. Maybe the computer is my trigger, or fluorescent lights (my monitor is LCD which makes sense)

I did find this post that I thought was interesting. 100’s of people have dizziness looking at computers. … folderid=7

Many suggest turning the monitor brightness down and making sure the lights in the room match the brightness of the screen. I do find that those suggestions have helped. For awhile the monitor made me so sick that I had to lie down frequently. Now, I can last much longer.

Hi Everyone:

I have been going through a bout of VV for over 5 years and it is ruining my life. It is with me 24/7, but is amplifyied by enviroments with fluorescent light, looking at computer monitors, patterns, after driving long distances and in visually complicated rooms or environments (shopping malls, etc…). I have been to several inner ear and opthalmology specialists with no cure. Headache rarely if ever accompanies my symptoms, but my brain always feels “dull” or “cloudy”. Currently, I seem to be at a dead end and am desparate for an answer or at least a diagnosis of this, if only to keep my sanity.

Has anyone tried any medications that have aleviated their symptoms. I have tried amitryptaline and topimax wil little to no result. Any advice or knowledge would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks so much for reading this. As much as I have great support, it’s very lonely at times as this is difficult for others to truly understand.

@ sixdeep,

“If I’m outside, I don’t get dizzy. If I’m in a big box store, I can barely walk. Inside my house, the dizziness is about average. I get hit with spells off and on, and there’s pressure in my head - almost as if my eyes strain to see things close up but my focus is fine.”

This sounds like it was taken directly from my thoughts! I am identical! The rest of your post with reference to “flicker” of fluo. lights and such is also identical (I too spend loads of time on computer for work). Have you found a cure? What are you doing to alleviate your symptoms? Thanks so much for sharing.

Hey Craig,
Check out this link if you get a chance. … folderid=7

Hundreds of people on here with the same visual dizziness. There’s lots of ideas and things that have worked for people. I’ve only had this for 3 week so I haven’t had a lot of trial and error, but I have found a few things that helped.

  1. Turn your monitor brightness down as low as you can. I never realized how much strain a bright LCD monitor puts on your eyes. But turning it down was a huge relief for me. I have mine on the lowest setting. Also, I’m considering getting an LED monitor. If fluorescent is the problem, then LCD will be a problem. LED doesn’t using fluorescent lighting. I can watch my old 50" projection TV fine, but my 42" LCD TV really bothers me. Maybe you have the same issue with fluorescents?

  2. Make sure the lights in your room match the brightness of the monitor. This might be hard if you are in an office, but if you can, get maintenance to unscrew the lights above your cube. If your monitor is low and the lights over your head are bright, it’ll strain your eyes, or vice versa. You gotta get the room lighting to match monitor lighting.

  3. Make sure you don’t have any glare on the monitor. If there’s window glare, it’s going to strain your eyes.

  4. Make sure you look down at the computer, not up. For the longest time I had my monitor on books so that it would help my back posture. Don’t make this mistake. If you’re looking up, it’ll strain your eyes. You can sit up straight and have good posture but still look down at the monitor. Try to get your eyes even about 2/3 of the way up on the screen.

  5. Stay out of big box stores LOL. Seriously, I can’t walk in a store anymore. The dizziness is horrible. I got some sunglasses I’m going to try along with a hat to see if that helps. I honestly think it’s the fluorescent lights, so maybe the sunglasses will work. I don’t want to be the guy who wears sunglasses indoors but if it prevents me from falling on my face, who cares? Which leads me to 6

  6. A lot of people have found relief replacing those new fluorescent light bulbs in their houses. I haven’t done that yet, but something to consider.

That’s about all I have so far. I’m still dizzy, but I can work on my computer again. For a few days it made me so sick I had to lay down. I think turning my monitor brightness down really helped.

Do you feel better outside? That’s the only time I’m not dizzy. Strange, huh?

Thanks so much for the information. I find that when I turn my monitor down, I get disoriented more because my eyes have a harder time adjusting to what what they are looking for. As for outside, I feel amazing, just like yourself. However, I can’t go for a walk in places where I am close to passing visual stimuli (trees, houses, cars). Otherwise I feel best there! On a bright, blue sky day @ a golf course, I feel wonderful…so long as I stay out of the trees. That’s extra motivation for hirring it straight! :smiley:

I too cannot go into a “big box store,” although some are worse than others.

Keep posting, as will I. Hopefully someone can inform me of some meds that have been effective. Take care.

Hey Craig,
Do you have problems reading books? Since my dizziness always seems to be indoors; seeing things close up, I figured reading would be really hard. But I don’t have any problems reading books. No dizziness.

Hi Craig
You’ve described common symptoms that many of us share. I’ve had difficulty with visually watching wind, ceiling fans, TV (not so much anymore), passing scenery in the car, shadows and changing light patterns while driving, etc etc etc. Retail stores can be tough. I take topamax (I remember that you didn’t do well on that). I’ve also supplemented with lorazepam/Ativan, Bonine chewables, and cyclizine/Bonine for Kids which specifically helps me tremendously with dizziness to take the edge off. Recently due to early allergy season I’ve added in more Zyrtec and Sudafed with very good results with my dizziness. Not all meds work all the time for me but if I’m being moderately careful with my diet and getting around 7 hours of sleep a night I’m a lot better than I was one year ago with no diagnosis, no meds, and no MAV forum for support : ). Like others, I’ve had to do a lot of trial and error tinkering…