Effect of Gaze Stability Exercises on Chronic Motion Sensitivity: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Neurol Phys Ther. 2018 Apr;42(2):72-79. doi: 10.1097/NPT.0000000000000216.


Background and purpose: Motion sensitivity is a common condition among the general population and may be accompanied by postural instability and anxiety. Preliminary studies suggest that minimal dosage of gaze stability exercises improves postural stability in young adults with chronic motion sensitivity. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of progressive gaze stability exercises on postural stability, motion sensitivity, and anxiety in healthy young adults with chronic motion sensitivity.

Methods: We conducted a single-blind randomized controlled trial to assess the effect of gaze stability exercises on chronic motion sensitivity. Forty-one participants of both genders ages 20 to 40 years with chronic motion sensitivity were randomly assigned to 2 groups. The intervention group performed gaze stability exercises while the sham group performed saccadic eye movement exercises for 6 weeks. Computerized Dynamic Posturography with Immersion Virtual Reality (CDP-IVR)-condition 1 (C1) and condition 2 (C2)-Motion Sensitivity Quotient (MSQ), Motion Sickness Sensitivity Susceptibility Questionnaire Short Form (MSSQ-Short: MSA, MSB), and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAI Form Y-2) were the outcome measures used.

Results: There was no significant group × time interaction for MSA, MSB, MSSQ percentile, STAI, MSQ, C1 mean, or C2 mean. However, posttreatment a significant difference in the mean CDP-IVR score of C2 was identified between the 2 groups. For C2, the intervention group demonstrated a 117% increase in the mean CDP-IVR score compared with a 35.2% increase in the sham group. MSQ reduced significantly from baseline to 6 weeks postintervention in the intervention group (4.0 ± 1.2 vs 1.9 ± 0.9). Anxiety was significantly reduced in the sham group only (38.2 ± 1.9 vs 35.8 ± 2.2).

Discussion and conclusions: Based on the results of this study, progressive gaze stability exercises appear to have value for managing chronic motion sensitivity in healthy young adults. Further research with larger sample size and broader age range is needed to generalize these findings.Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at: http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A203).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Sickness / physiopathology
  • Motion Sickness / rehabilitation*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult