What is cyberdizziness and why can it occur?

Long-term use of electronic devices such as mobiles and computers can trigger conditions. Fortunately, it is possible to prevent its appearance with simple measures.

Last update: October 20, 2021

The prolonged and constant use of mobile devices or computers can cause some discomfort in some people. This is expressed in a type of motion sickness called cyberdizziness.

Motion sickness is that discomfort presented by people when traveling in cars or boats. These conditions appear when the structures in charge of the control of the posture send contradictory signals to the brain. The signs interpret that there is an alteration, which is why the characteristic symptoms appear.

The term cyberdizziness It has existed since the 1990s, however, it was only associated with virtual reality (VR) devices. In fact, studies claim that More than 60% of people using VR experiences developed the condition. Nowadays, the discomfort can also appear after several hours in social networks or virtual conferences.

Symptoms and signs of cyberdizziness

Symptoms reported by people with cyberdizziness they are very similar to those presented by those with dizziness in the car. The specialists usually divide the clinical manifestations into nausea, oculomotor disorders and general disorientation.

Nausea is one of the first manifestations of the condition and are defined as the subjective sensation of the proximity of vomiting. This symptom tends to be worse with bad smells or a full stomach.

Oculomotor disorders refer to all those symptoms related to the third cranial nerve or oculomotor nerve. The nerve in question is responsible for eye movements and is very active when using electronic devices. Among these disorders, visual fatigue and headaches stand out.

Finally, general disorientation usually manifests itself through dizziness and vertigo. These symptoms are usually the most severe and they can limit daily activities.

Overuse of screens leads to dizziness, headaches, nausea, and eyestrain.

Why is it produced?

First it is important to know how the human body is able to maintain balance and posture. Their maintenance is a complex process that involves sight, proprioceptive receptors, and the vestibular system of the ear. All these structures send signals to the brain that allow it to adapt to the environment.

The cyberdizziness appears when the structures responsible for maintaining balance send conflicting signals to the brain. Vision will tell the nervous system that there is movement when viewing images scrolling. For its part, the vestibular system and proprioception will not detect any type of movement, since the person is calm.

Some studies carried out reveal that the intensity of the symptoms depends on the variation in the sensitivity of visual movement of each person. Many of the activities carried out on mobile devices and social networks can trigger an episode of cyberdizziness.

Among the main triggers of the condition, the following stand out:

  • Descend on the wall or feed of social networks.
  • Use virtual reality devices.
  • Participate in video conferences with slides.
  • Play action and adventure video games.
  • Observe screens with flashing lights.

How can cyberdizziness be treated?

Treatment for cyberdizziness consists in take a break from what is being done on the screen. The best time to do this is at the onset of symptoms, when their intensity is mild. The importance of resting is because vertigo can persist even when the eyes are closed.

People should try to stimulate the sense of sight correctly. The idea is to send signals to the brain that there is no movement whatsoever. A good way to achieve this is to fix your gaze on the horizon or at a specific point until the annoying signs disappear.

The effectiveness of drug treatment is very limited. Some research establishes that antihistamines may be helpful in treating motion sickness. In this way, over-the-counter drugs such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine, and loratadine could contribute.

Cyber ​​seasickness prevention

Fortunately, there are certain measures that can be taken to prevent the appearance of the cyberdizziness. These consist of reducing the time spent in front of a screen. Eliminating screens from daily life is impossible, however, these recommendations can be followed:

  • Take short breaks and stop watching a screen every 40 minutes.
  • Fix your eyes on a stable point from time to time.
  • Do not use more than one screen at a time.
  • Do audio conferencing instead of video conferencing, whenever possible.
  • Reduce scrolling speed on social media.
  • Chew gum.
  • Breath deeply.

In some cases, it is impossible to take breaks or look away from the screen, so the cyberdizziness it becomes inevitable. The reduction in the intensity of the symptoms is more important when this occurs, which can be achieved by avoid heavy meals and be in a ventilated environment.

Having a ventilated environment is important so as not to stimulate the symptoms of cyberdizziness.

A condition whose frequency is increasing

The use of screens and digital media has generated an increase in the incidence of cyberdizziness in recent years. It is an alteration produced by the interpretation of contradictory stimuli in the brain. Its main signs are nausea, vertigo and eye fatigue.

Fortunately, the measures necessary to prevent the appearance of discomfort are very simple and anyone can take them. Symptoms of cyberdizziness they are benign and disappear when the stimulus stops.

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