Alright, I apologize up front for the "nature" of this discussion, but I'm hoping my Strabby brothers and sisters can help provide answers that none of my "real" Dr.s have been able to provide (and not without plenty of consultations, mind you!).
So ... I'm into my 5th week of Vision Therapy, and I'm also an A+ student when it comes to my daily "homework" (monocular Brock String exercises, etc.). While the changes in my eye teaming/fusing have been subtle, I've noticed a much more substantial change in the past month ... I'm always nauseous! OK, I know what you're thinking ... and, I've thought the same thing, but 3 pregnancy tests have ruled out that option! After several Dr. appointments, (all of which have ended with, "There's nothing wrong with you"), I can find no logical explanation for my constant queasy stomach and lack of appetite.
So ... as a last resort, I'm reaching out to my VT buddies to pose the question, "Have any of you ever experienced nauseau as a result of vision therapy?" Is there any correlation between my ADD eyes and my upset tummy? Looking back, it seems that my tummy troubles coincide with the beginning of vision therapy. Could it be ...?!?! Or, should I just stop worrying and be grateful that I no longer crave that chocolate brownie?!?
Yes, my nausea did go away, but there is a big difference. I was nauseaus mostly immediately during and after VT. I have to say that in the middle (about 2 months into it), the symptoms were the worst. And for those "middle" weeks, I had all sorts of strange reactions, the most worrying one being that I had trouble standing. Just standing. I'd be standing talking to someone and suddenly would lurch just a little bit to one side. I never fell. It never got even close to that, but it did freak me out a lot. I also got dizzy if I looked down (even if I moved my head slowly) but could move my head rapidly in other directions without problem. All of that went away gradually by the third month (over a course of about 6 weeks I'd say).
There were a few VT sessions where I had to ask someone to pick me up and drive me home because I didn't trust my driving. There was a lot of queasiness there. This should give you an indication of the degree of uncertainty I had about the world not being where it was supposed to be. It was a real pain coaxing someone to pick me up and then return me later to pick up the car.
Now, in contrast, I have always been able to read in the car but did have "dizzy spells" as a kid. I had to sit on the floor. Sitting in a chair didn't quite cut it and forget about lying down flat on my back. That was the worst.
So, this is my very detailed way of saying that I wouldn't necessarily think my advice is as applicable to you as the advice from other people who have more similar symptoms. Also, I wouldn't completely rule out the idea that you have 2 problems, with the VT making your underlying medical problem worse. I'm not trying to be a pessimist. I just hate to see you ignore gall bladder disease for instance, thinking it's your eyes. (My husband just had his gallbladder removed so that is why I mentioned this one.)
Anyway, if it were me, and I knew myself to be really disciplined, I would ask my VT what he/she thinks would happen if you took a break for about 2 weeks from VT. If he/she says that's a bad idea, I'd tough it out and keep trying creative ways to alleviate your symptoms. However, if he/she says that it wouldn't hurt your progress, and you know you're disciplined enough to resume VT after a short break, I would ask your doctor if a few weeks away from VT is enough for the symptoms to go away. I don't know if your doctor can answer these types of questions. He/she probably can't answer them since everyone is do very different. All I do know, is that I would try asking them. It's important to note that I would fully expect your symptoms to return when you resumed VT. I am suggesting this as a potential way to confirm it's the VT and solely the VT making your life more challenging (temporarily of course).
And, if my doctor did give me the clear to try this, I would write down my symptoms 3 times per day (i.e. number on a scale from 1 to 5) and write down the 3 numbers onto my calendar where it's easy to keep track of what you did that day. And, I would write down 2 other numbers 3 times per day: how much I ate and the spiciness of what I ate (also on a scale of 1 to 5 for instance). I don't know if that would help at all. Maybe all it would do it give you a really messy calendar and waste your time. However, it's something I would consider for a few weeks anyway.
I wouldn't consider it, though, if it were to derail your VT, or have the potential of setting you back. I can tell you that for me at least, the final results were well worth all of the irritating side effects for a few weeks. And, VT made a huge positive impact on my entire family who was suffering right along with me pre-VT. We were all really busy and my undiagnosed vision problems added lead weights to some things. For me at least the side effects of VT were minor compared to all of the things I could no longer do and many of which I can now do again. And, now since I have a solid, logical reason for why I can't do some things again, I'm more at peace with them (and my family is more tolerant because they know it's in the seeing part of my head and not in the non-seeing part of my head (meaning I'm just being stubborn or difficult). They were pretty tolerant before the diagnoses but it does ease the way when there's a doctor-diagnosed reason for odd behaviors. It's very validating.
Like the others, I experienced some nausea with VT but not all the time. It may be good to keep a record of when the nausea is at its worst to see if you can correlate specific activities with the nausea.
Also, do you wear glasses? If so, is the prescription optimal and are the glasses in good shape? I had a friend with glasses that had anti-reflective coating. The coating got scratched and caused her all sorts of problems with glare, particularly at night. One day recently, I was feeling a bit nauseated and having trouble seeing. Then my son happened to notice that my glasses were askew on my face. I wear progressive lenses so each eye might have been seeing out of a different part of the glasses. It was a simple matter to bend the arms of the glasses back into shape so that the glasses sat correctly on my face. Then my visual discomfort disappeared.
Although I haven't had nausea, I do have motion problems. I can't go out dancing anymore unless I'm with my friends who can keep an eye out for me and make sure I don't fall. If I twirl around too fast, the whole room moves super fast and I am disoriented. So I guess this is called motion sickness without stomach problems. An amblyopic friend who did VT over 20 years ago told me that he had nausea.
I'm new to the community, but since I too have suffered from intermittent to regular nausea / vertigo / motion sickness, I thought I would add my two cents. My disorientation issues began before I started VT during a time when a number of non-visual vision issues began (it was later suggested that too much reading of fine print might have led to eyestrain that exacerbated my underlying strabismus). Having never suffered particularly from motion sickness growing up (I was the kid that read in the back of the car), it was quite a surprise to begin experiencing "motion sickness" while sitting still.
When I got my first pair of prism glasses a little under a year ago, most of this stopped. But then it started up again at some point a few months ago during a time when I was also experiencing a lot of intermittent double vision. The problems were worse when my eyes were fatigued, but I also found that almost any "traditional" source of motion sickness also frequently triggered my motion sickness, so I started avoiding cars and mass transit pretty actively (I'm lucky enough to be in a situation where that was possible to do without very much effort).
Just last month, it was determined that my vertical prisms were incorrect (I have esotropia, hypertropia, and DVD), in fact they were exacerbating rather than compensating for my hypertropia. I've had new glasses without any vertical prism (just horizontal) for about a month, which initially led to much improvement (in terms of both the double vision and the motions sickness), but in just the last week I've started feeling queasy again. I had my eyes checked by one optometrist yesterday, who indicated that the nausea is probably related to the hypertropia. I have an appointment today where I'll pose this question and see if I am going to need to get a third pair of glasses this year. (Has anyone else had such radical prescription changes?)
Hope your motion sickness has been resolved and this message greets you with a steady tummy! If not, I'll just add that I found myself experiencing vertigo either when moving (a conflict between perceptual systems?) as well as when visually fatigued or stressed (my double vision provided a good indicator of this). Both at the same time, unsurprisingly, exacerbated the situation, but being mindful of these two sources helped me better address the problem, e.g., concentrate moving in the morning when eyes are freshest.
I probably don't have too much info to help you, but I'll just add to the discussion. Once I found a VT, she wanted to wait to start working with me until after she attended a conference, and had an open appointment that would work with my schedule. So I had about two months before we could get started. I started patching my dominant eye evenings and weekends, just to get the lazy eye prepared to start doing some work. I started out real gung ho and got very nauseated. I then learned to just patch for short increments of time. Then when I started doing VT, I also experienced some nausea. I would try to push myself a little past it, but then stop, and resume at a later time during the day. This seemed to work for me and I rarely experience nausea now. Hopefully by now you are doing better!
Perhaps you are experiencing a form of motion sickness.
Wikepedia has a pretty good article about motion sickness. It seems there are three basic categories of motion sickness
Basically it has to do how the brain interprets information it receives from the vestibular system (inner ear) and the visual system. Astronauts arriving back on earth often have balance problems because while in space they've learned (their brains have adapted) to dealing with different sensory input from their vestibular systems, and when they return home they have to readapt to the input they get here. (It takes less time after each mission to switch back and forth between to systems). Susan Barry, whose husband is an astronaut, mentioned this issue in her book "Fixing my Gaze."
I am an alternating exptrope which means that I can switch--in my case consciously or automatically--between which eye I am "using," and that eye I'm not "using" points out towards the side. I also have something called "panoramic viewing" which means that I don't suppress the input from the eye I'm not using, It's just sort of there, like peripheral vision. So my brain is always accepting, and "understanding" the images from both eyes. But since the eye that points out goes *so* far out there is no overlap--hence no confusion.
For a number of years I've been occasionally practicing trying to get my eyes to align. (Or in optometry-speak I've been practicing "voluntary convergence") Lately, in anticipation of beginning VT I've been practicing more intensively and and have observed two problems:
1) When I do get my eyes lined up my vision goes kind of wonky),
2) After four or five successful attempts (each lasting no more than a second or so) over a period of less than about 30 seconds I start feeling a little bit motion sick. The intensity and duration of the motion sickness relates directly to how long I've been attempting/succeeding at convergence.
This week I figured out the reason for both problems.
I was walking my dog after dark and we had stopped to wait for a traffic light to turn. Dog walking times are good times to play with my vision. So while we were waiting for the light I decided to see if I could focus both eyes on the light at the same time.
What I saw was the light oscillating back and forth *very* rapidly. What I think was happening was that my brain, unable to accept the two images of the same thing simultaneously, was automatically switching back and forth between "seeing" with one eye at a time. And my brain was also probably having a hard time getting the rapidly changing information from my visual system to coordinate with the unchanging information from my vestibular system. No wonder my vision gets wonky and I feel motion sick when I do this!
In VT you are trying to get your brain to deal differently with visual input. Perhaps what you are training your brain to do is creating some kind of conflict with what it does (and probably aways has done) with information from your vestibular system. Since it sounds like the changes you are woking on are "in effect" a lot of the time throughout the day (rather than the few seconds that I'm achieving) it would make sense that the motion sickness would also be in effect throughout the day
Also, I wonder if the fact that the change is internal affects the longevity of the problem. (The astronauts, for whom the change is external, usually recover their balance within a couple of days...)
Your vision therapist would know best, but perhaps you might want to try taking a motion-sickness medication and see if that helps... If it does, then you might have an answer--as well as perhaps a way of treating it.